Our View: Respect diversity in the awards


Actor John Krasinski and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs “Straight Outta Compton” as a nominee for Original Screenplay at the announcement of the 88th Academy Awards nominations during a live news conference on Jan. 14, 2016 at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif.

For the second year in a row, the nominations for this year’s Academy Awards drew criticism as every nominated actor happened to be white. The announcements resulted in the revival of the Twitter trend #OscarsSoWhite, and celebrities like Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee have discussed boycotting the event.

The latest controversy brings up the question: Are the Oscars ignoring diversity, or is it really about talent? In the movie “Creed,” the star, Michael B. Jordan, who is black, wasn’t nominated for anything; however, Sylvester Stallone, who is white, received a nomination for Best Supporting Actor.

Other projects ignored included “Straight Outta Compton,” where only the white writers received nominations, though the director F. Gary Gray is black and the film included a predominantly black cast.

According to a recent survey by the Los Angeles Times, out of the 6,028 voters for the Academy Awards, 93 percent are white, 76 percent are men and the average age is 62 to 63 years old.

While talent should be recognized, the talent from a more diverse group of actors, directors, writers and more should also be recognized in the nomination process. In films, contributors of some sort who aren’t white are ignored while the same white contributors are praised.

Another example of overlooking talented non-white actors included the movie “Beasts of No Nation,” where black actor Idris Elba didn’t receive a nomination, despite many projections indicating he would.

We believe representation matters when it comes to the selection of individuals who work hard on the moving films noticed by the Academy Awards. Ignoring this means ignoring a large percent of the American population, and the majority of the world population. The selection for this year’s Academy Awards reminds everyone that there is still a long way to go in granting respect where respect is due.