News Reel & Blog

Written by James Cheetham on 19th January 2015

                                               

#OscarsSoWhite

That’s the hashtag that started trending across twitter this weekend, whipping up a large level of criticism for the Oscars after they announced their nominations on Thursday.

While calling the Oscars racist is an exaggeration, it still does not detract from the fact that the Oscar nominations this year have been “the whitest” since 1995 and clear proof that we are not seeing enough diversity.

Calling on statistics from 2012 which were published by the Los Angeles Times, the voting body for the Academy is 94% white, 76% male and has an average age of 63. While it’s harsh to say the voting body is “out of touch,” and age and experience should be respected, they’re obviously not a multi-cultural bunch.  

The President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts has openly addressed this issue with the Associated Press on the weekend. Cheryl Boone Isaacs, (the first black female President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts) has said “in the last two years’ we’ve made greater strides than we ever have in the past toward becoming more diverse.”

She also highlighted how the voting system works, with each category being voted for by peers experienced and working in the same craft. For example the Best Director nominees are suggested by just Directors, Cinematographers  by Cinematographers, with only the Best Picture voted for by all.

Isaacs went on to say: “There is not one central body or group of people that sit around the table and come up with nominations.

“It really is a peer-to-peer process.”

While the nominations this year are clearly majority white, Selma which looks at Martin Luther King’s campaign for equal voting rights has landed itself a Best Picture. But why are the other categories lacking?

So looking at how the voting body works, surely the main issue should not be with the Oscars, but with the Film industry as a whole?

Variety recently reported that due to the secret ballot nature of the Oscars’ voting system and how it relies on personal tastes which can’t be quantified, the focus should be on the hiring practices of the Film industry.

The Academy reflects the industry, and thus why are we so surprised? 

Variety also reported that the membership (6,000) of the Producers Guild of America is nearly half women, yet the top 10 films at 2014's box office had 27 female producers. 

While the Oscars are being made an example of again with the representation of women (no female nominations for Director or Writer) we should stop focusing on the #OscarsSoWhite and more on #DiversifyHollywood.

What are you thoughts on this? 

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