Film fans question nominations’ lack of diversity

By Zach Silver, Staff Writer

When the Oscar nominees were announced Jan. 15, movie-goers everywhere were shocked to see some of their favorite movies, actors and directors missing from the list of potential winners.

On the surface, the nominee list consists of movies with a vast array of subjects, genres and styles, but looking on a deeper level, they are all one in the same. All of the nominees for the actor and actress categories are white and all the Best Director nominees are white males. Diversity in the award show has ultimately regressed.

“I’m not surprised because it’s common that minority actors are far less likely to play a certain role even if it has no specification of race,” senior Kalina Simeonova said.

The Academy had the opportunity to nominate the first black woman in nominating Ava DuVernay to the Best Director category for her work in Selma. Many believe it was a lost opportunity that has reinforced the public’s already marred view of the Academy.

“There’s a long way to go before we can say the Academy is completely unbiased in their nominations,” Simeonova said.

Many think that the nominations will have an impact on the credibility of the Academy and winners of this year’s Oscars.

“I think it lessens the credibility a bit,” senior Tanya Seghal said. “They excluded so many possible people to nominate, and it’s very unlikely that this happened by chance.”

Regardless of the scandal, people believe that the Oscars will still have a regular, if not higher viewership.

“The lack of diversity has never really stopped anyone from watching these films, nor the show,” Simeonova said. “I doubt that many people even realize how even in the film industry, minorities are discriminated against.”

On the other hand, some students believe that the film most involved in the controversy, Selma, might have just simply been missing the spark need to get the Best Actor and Director nominees to go along with its Best Picture nomination.

“I know a lot of people criticized Selma for one reason or another,” junior Bradley Lawrence said. “Just because there is a lack of diversity doesn’t mean there was meant to be one.”

Even with the debate over whether the Academy was purposefully leaving out potential nominees on the basis of race, movie fans are looking to the future for reform.

According to Simeonova, there are no actions or checks in place for the public that would force the Academy to reexamine their choices or that would potentially recall its members.

“I don’t really think there’s anything the public can do about this but be patient and continue to strongly voice their thoughts on the matter,” Simeonova said.