Oscars 2016 Best Actress nominees (Reuters)
Last week, the Oscar nominations were announced. Selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the winners will be revealed Feb. 28. But this year continued a disturbing trend that began last year: Not one of the nominees in any of the acting categories (Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Supporting Actor) were people of color (POC).
I use the word “disturbing” as it seems the Academy is determined to ignore stories and narratives that don’t fit within their very narrow worldview. It’s becoming increasingly clear that non-white stories are not only valuable (as we knew already), but make bank, both in terms of box office and in social influence. (See this past year’s examples of TV smash “Empire,” and movies “Straight Outta Compton” and “Dope.”) The Academy needs to wake up and see that rewarding diverse stories can only help their bottom line.
In terms of the numbers, here are some of the most recent POC nominees (counted if they didn’t win) and winners:
Winner: Halle Berry (“Monster’s Ball,” 2001)
Nominee: Quvenzhane Wallis (“Beasts of the Southern Wild,” 2012)
Winner: Forest Whitaker (“The Last King of Scotland,” 2006)
Nominee: Chiwetel Ejiofor (“12 Years a Slave,” 2013)
Best Supporting Actress:
Winner: Lupita Nyong’o (“12 Years a Slave,” 2013)
Nominee: Taraji P. Henson (“The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” 2008)
Best Supporting Actor:
Winner: Djimon Hounsou (“Blood Diamond,” 2006)
Nominee: Barkhad Abdi (“Captain Phillips,” 2013)