Diversity Among the Oscars

3001714270_c98d19f5d7_oInclusion, diversity, and equality. What does it mean to you? In today’s age, people still struggle with what it means, how it works and why it is necessary. As the 2016 Oscars awards approach and the nominees have been announced, it is apparent that the Academy still struggles with what inclusion, diversity and equality mean. It is a difficult conversation to be had but a necessary one at that.

For the second year in a row, the Academy has not nominated any African American actors. With four acting categories, 20 slots each, and the opportunity to recognize performers of color the Academy still failed to do so. Due to this reason, several celebrities such as Jada Pinkett Smith and director Spike Lee will not be attending the event.

One of the biggest movies of 2015, Star Wars: The Force Awakens, was led by John Boyegs, who plays Finn. As the leading role in the movie, it was a great disappointment that he was not nominated for an Oscar. As an African American actor, there is outrage saying that he was not nominated due to his race. Femi Oguns, Boyega’s agent, has been speaking on behalf of Boyega about the lack of diversity in the industry.

“These decision makers are normally white middle-class men who have not, in any way, invested an interest in trying to research, celebrate or understand other cultures,” Oguns told Newsbeat in an interview. “It’s reflected upon the world they live in, which is quite narrow-minded and not open to receiving other cultures for what they actually represent.”

The Academy has taken various approaches to diversify its members. This past July they invited 322 new members including David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and F.Gary Gray. Cheryl Boone-Issacs, the Academy president, said in a personal statement that regardless of the Academy’s stride for change in its makeup of members, “…change is not coming as fast as we would like. We need to do more, and better and more quickly.” In addition, the Academy’s board of governors has issued a pledge to double the number of female and minority members within its ranks by 2020.

Although 6,300 people in the film industry partake in deciding the nominations for the Oscars, 94 percent are white and 77 percent are male. Chris Rock, an African American comedian, will be hosting the Oscars but it does not make up for the lack of black nominees and diversity in the Academy.

As seen in the world of communications and business, it’s not about getting the position but not having the opportunity. The nominees for this year’s Oscars are well-deserved but considering critically acclaimed movies such as “Straight Out of Compton” with an all-black cast received no nominations for actors or actresses is astounding. The lack of diversification, inclusion, and equality is not just seen in this event but in every aspect of life, whether it be gender, race, ethnicity, disability, or sexual orientation.

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