Image Source: Because I’m Fabulous

For only the second time in two decades, the Academy Awards acting nominations went to an all-white group. The Oscar nominations revealed that all 20 contenders for acting awards were white, shutting out people of colour from all the categories. The diversity, something so prevalent in the film fraternity, wasn’t acknowledged by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.

The nominations snubbed people of colour like David Oyelowo who received praise for his brilliant portrayal of late Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma and the black themes in the movie category. The nominees list doesn’t celebrate or acknowledge the brilliance of Selma or Straight Outta Compton.

The Oscar nominations, now trending on social media as #OscarsSoWhite, ignited the conversation around the lack of diversity in the filmmaking industry.

People of colour such as Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), Michael B. Jordan (Creed), Oscar Isaac (Ex Machina), Benicio Del Toro (Sicario), Tessa Thompson (Creed), Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton), and Will Smith (Concussion) all missed out on nominations. The movies with black themes such as Straight Outta Compton and Creed were also left off the list of Best Picture nominees.

The all-white nominations thus raise a question. Is institutional racism still a thing in this day and age?

Many observers, journalists, and celebrities called out Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for the lack of representation in the nominee list. Filmmaker Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith gave their voice about this issue and have decided to boycott the Oscars this year.

But the lack of diversity representation doesn’t limit itself to the Oscar nominations of 2016; it extends to the members who vote on the Oscars. While filmmaking is seeing progress in terms of diversity and race representation, the people responsible for the nominations are all-white.

Filmmaker Spike Lee wrote,

“People, the truth is we ain’t in those rooms, and until minorities are, the Oscar nominees will remain lilly white,” he wrote.”

The entertainment industry now reflects the rejection and cold-shoulder shown to the people of colour. These nominations set back years of racial harmony and equality. Instead of using it as a platform to support and acknowledge diversity, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has whitewashed Hollywood.