The recently released #OscarSoWhite nomination list features no actor or actress of color. A one time incident would have been excusable but this is the second year in a row. No black person got nominated and this caused an uproar last week, after Jada Pinkett-Smith challenged the Academy calling for a boycott.
Those who also challenged the Oscars lack of diversity in nominating blacks also brought to notice the little role women play in the awards. Stars include, 50 Cent, Snoop Dogg, Tyrese, Matt Damon, George Clooney, Charlotte Rampling, and Spike Lee among others.
“Please do not do the Oscars awards,” wrote rapper 50 Cent on Instagram, when pleading with Chris Rock to join the boycott. “You mean a lot man, don’t do it. Please.”
Fast & Furious 7 star Tyrese Gibson has also called on Rock to step down. The actor said there was “no joke that [Rock] can crack” that would make up for the Academy’s failure to nominate a single non-white acting nominee. “There is no way for him to seize the moment… and say, ‘I’m going to say this and say that I’m going to address the issue but then I’m still going to keep my gig as the host’,” Gibson told USA Today.
Expect this year’s Oscar host, Chris Rock (He isn’t boycotting) to be the center of attention at one the most anticipated evenings in the new year, following the pace of controversy it has garnered.
There was nothing for Idris Elba, who got a Bafta nod last week for Beasts of No Nation, while NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton failed to get a best picture nomination. It did however pick up a nod for best original screenplay. Leonardo DiCaprio could win best actor. Over his 25-year film career, The Revenant’s Leonardo DiCaprio has been nominated for four acting Oscars (plus a producer nod for The Wolf of Wall Street two years ago).
In response, The Academy decided to make some changes for the next Oscars to be held in 2020. Such changes include more people of color as well as women among the voting board.
Its official press statement reads:
Lifetime voting rights reframed; new governor seats added and committees restructured
Goal to double number of diverse members by 2020
In a unanimous vote Thursday night (1/21), the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences approved a sweeping series of substantive changes designed to make the Academy’s membership, its governing bodies, and its voting members significantly more diverse. The Board’s goal is to commit to doubling the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020.
“The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” said Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition.”
Beginning later this year, each new member’s voting status will last 10 years, and will be renewed if that new member has been active in motion pictures during that decade. In addition, members will receive lifetime voting rights after three ten-year terms; or if they have won or been nominated for an Academy Award. We will apply these same standards retroactively to current members. In other words, if a current member has not been active in the last 10 years they can still qualify by meeting the other criteria. Those who do not qualify for active status will be moved to emeritus status. Emeritus members do not pay dues but enjoy all the privileges of membership, except voting. This will not affect voting for this year’s Oscars.
At the same time, the Academy will supplement the traditional process in which current members sponsor new members by launching an ambitious, global campaign to identify and recruit qualified new members who represent greater diversity.
In order to immediately increase diversity on the Board of Governors, the Academy will establish three new governor seats that will be nominated by the President for three-year terms and confirmed by the Board.
The Academy will also take immediate action to increase diversity by adding new members who are not Governors to its executive and board committees where key decisions about membership and governance are made. This will allow new members an opportunity to become more active in Academy decision-making and help the organization identify and nurture future leaders.
Along with Boone Isaacs, the Board’s Membership and Administration Committee, chaired by Academy Governor Phil Robinson, led the efforts to enact these initiatives.
So the Academy will rectify the issue in the future but presently, there’s nothing that can be done? The Smiths and Spike Lee are still boycotting.
Photo Credit, bbc