Much is being made about the lack of diversity in this years Oscar nominations with hashtag movements being created, angry articles being written, and every one from Al Sharpton to Jessica Chastain calling for more diversity. So with all the hubbub being generated by what is “the whitest Oscars since 1998” I was curious as to just how diverse could the nominations have been?
The Best Director category is one big sausage party full of white dudes (even though everyone seems to just being ignoring the fact that Alejandro González Iñárritu is Mexican) and the thing that is the most glaringly obvious an omission on that list is that SELMA director Ava DuVernay got snubbed. SELMA is almost universally well-reviewed (its sitting at 99% on Rotten Tomatoes with only 2 bad reviews out of 148) and DuVernay showed an amazing gift behind the lens with this movie. Sadly, the backlash over what critics call a hatchet job on Pres. Lyndon B. Johnson may be the reason why DuVernay got snubbed. The Academy is made up of a bunch of old white guys, most of whom are liberal, and they probably all were a tad perturbed that one of their liberal icons was not show as a total paragon of virtue. Of course the LBJ controversy is insanely overblown and anyone who as actually taken the time to see the movie would honestly only have one moment of creative license to be genuinely angry about. I think that a bigger reason may be that Paramount dropped the ball when it came to disseminating the SELMA screeners to the right people that the movie and its director would have needed to get a Best Director nod, namely not making the film available to the various guilds and only sending screeners to Oscar and BAFTA voters.
But who else besides DuVernay was out there that could have gotten a Best Director nomination? Angelina Jolie springs to mind for UNBROKEN but the movie got mixed reviews despite being a pretty decent moneymaker at the box office. And even in favorable reviews no critics seemed to be exceptionally impressed by Jolie’s skills as a director.
So who else? Of the major studio releases (including their boutique studios) this year there have been very few directed by women or people of color. And of those movies even less would be what anyone consider “Oscar worthy”. I would say that the only other diverse picks for a directors nomination would be two more black women…Amma Asante who directed the critically acclaimed but little watched period drama BELLE and Gina Prince-Bythewood who directed the quasi-melodrama BEYOND THE LIGHTS.
6 thoughts on “Just How Diverse Could This Year’s Oscars Have Been?”
When was the last time a black director was nominated for anything none persecution related?
The industry seriously needs to diversify.
That is a very good point. It seems that there needs to be an element of racial hardship to the piece to get a black director a nod.
And let’s not even get started on Asian actors/directors/writers who tend to be completely ignored if their name isn’t Ang Lee.
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Well this is what makes me laugh because I was checking my top ten films of the year. Every single one was directed by a white man. Even the Raid 2 was directed by a Welsh guy.
I was so shocked when I found out that Gareth Evans was the director of the The Raid films. I was thinking the guy who made Ong Bak was the director or something.
Hey, glad to see people still talking about this. It’s not just an Oscar problem, but an industry problem!
Exactly. There really needs to come a time when we get more diversity in major studio tentpole films both in front and behind the camera.