The 87th Annual Academy Awards show is a time for film buffs and cinematography enthusiasts to celebrate the year’s best in show and argue for hours on end about which movie should have won for Best Screenplay. It is a time for glitzy gowns to be showcased on the famous red carpet, and for viewers watching at home to peer into the world of Hollywood movie stars. The only thing that’s missing from this world of glamour and finesse is something that hasn’t been around for several decades–diversity.
This year’s host of the prestigious awards show, Neil Patrick Harris, opened up the event with a joke that brought up a good point: “Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest–I mean, brightest”.
The Academy, the ones who pick the winners, is made up of 94% whites and 77% males, with an average member age of 63 years.
That being said, it is important to note that this year’s Oscars held the least amount of diversity since 1998.
Among the nominees this year, there were no people of color present. In other categories, female screenwriters, directors or cinematographers weren’t nominated as well, leaving the stage to be set for primarily white, male actors and film makers.
Viewers took notice of the lack of diversity, and took to Twitter to lash out against the white-dominating industry, using the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite to jokingly point out the overall “whiteness” of the awards show.
This year, John Legend and Common’s win for Best Original Song was only the 32nd time in 87 years that a black person has won an Oscar. That’s 32 wins from a person of color out of more than 3,000 winners. And the times they did win, they won for perfectly portraying the role of a struggling minority (i.e. Octavia Spencer in The Help). Yikes.
More often than not, the entertainment industry has become submerged in Caucasian power. So the question here is, how do we break the habit?