#OscarsSoWhite sparks discussion about diversity at Academy Awards
In this Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2014 file photo, Ava DuVernay, left, director of the film "Selma," and cast member David Oyelowo pose together at the Four Seasons Hotel in Los Angeles. (Photo by Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP Photo)
Michael Shulman, CTVNews.ca Staff
Published Thursday, January 15, 2015 6:56PM EST
Last Updated Thursday, January 15, 2015 7:05PM EST
Twitter users are speaking out after "Selma" was shut out of all major categories, besides Best Picture and Best Original Song, when the nominees for the 87th Academy Awards were announced on Thursday morning.
The film, which has been heralded by critics, chronicles Martin Luther King Jr's 1965 campaign to secure equal voting rights by marching with protesters from Selma to Montgomery, Ala. The fact that the film was nominated for Best Picture, but director Ava DuVernay and lead actor David Oyelowoo were snubbed, came as a surprise to critics and fans alike.
Using the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, disappointed fans vented their frustration at a perceived lack of diversity among the nominees. Some even called the snub “racist.”
#OscarsSoWhite they prefaced each nomination with, "I'm not racist, but..."— Anne T. Donahue (@annetdonahue) January 15, 2015
Many used humour to express their thoughts on the issue.
#OscarsSoWhite that the statue counts as a Person Of Color.— Hari Kondabolu (@harikondabolu) January 15, 2015
#OscarsSoWhite they don't see race. Or movies with black folks in it, apparently.— Fed Up Nephew (@Awkward_Duck) January 15, 2015
This was the first time in 17 years that all the nominees in the four acting categories were white. At least one non-white person has been nominated since 1998.
Just a year ago, the Oscars celebrated a banner year for diversity after "12 Years a Slave" made history by becoming the first film by a black director, Steve McQueen, to win best picture. Mexican-Kenya actress Lupito Nyong'o also took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, thanks to her role in the film.
Criticism has been leveled at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences because its members are predominantly white and male. 94 per cent of its roster is Caucasian and 76 per cent are white.
Some Twitter users also pointed out that people of colour are only nominated when they play certain stereotyped roles.
#OscarsSoWhite the only time a Black person is nominated, let alone wins, is if they're in a role as a slave or the help.— QUEEN OF DRAGS (@wjlly2) January 15, 2015