For the second year in a row, all twenty Oscar nominees in the acting categories are White. The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, which began last year as a sort of joke, has officially become a monster, with multiple actors and directors boycotting and shaming the Academy for its “racist” nominations.
Despite all the evidence to the contrary that the Academy Awards are not racially biased, a massive “feelings” campaign appears to be winning the fight.
From 2000-2014, 12.9 percent of all acting nominees were Black; and 15 percent of those who won acting awards were Black (averaging 13.95%.) The percentage of Blacks in the United States is 13.2 percent according to the CDC. The number of Black Oscar nominees and winners is almost an exact representation of their population in America.
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Democratic strategist Brian Benjamin and Freethink Media’s Kmele Foster debated the topic on “Fox and Friends” Saturday, and here’s how the argument went:
BENJAMIN: “Who is determining the nominees? The Academy itself — that’s why they came out and changed the methodology to change diversity because they themselves agree they’re not diverse enough.”
Foster then presented facts. You know, actual data.
FOSTER: “Twenty percent of the wins in the ‘Best Actor’ category, for example, have gone to black actors. Blacks are not 20% of the population; they’re around 13% of the population…12.4% of the nominations have gone to black actors…when I look at the actual facts here–the data–since 2000 to today…the fact of the matter is that blacks, relative to their percentage of the population, have been over-represented in some sense, not under-represented. And it’s important to acknowledge that because regardless of who’s doing the nominating, it’s a ‘fair’ outcome.”
Benjamin replied, ignoring all the data Foster presented.
BENJAMIN: “If you look at the last two years where the only nominees are white, that suggests that for all the movies…those are the best people. My argument is, if you had a more diverse group–maybe it would be that–but at least I’d feel better about the process.”
So…facts and data are irrelevant because feelings trump (no pun intended) facts? Got it.
After all the whining, the Academy caved and agreed to implement massive changes. Its restructuring will allegedly double the number of women and minorities included among the voting ranks by the year 2020.
This means by 2020 more Affirmative Action Oscars will be awarded.
But what if 2021 is another all White year? What then?
Mandatory minimums? Instructions at the top of every Oscar ballot? Will voters read something like:
“In each category, you must cast a vote for at least one minority. If you have difficulty making a decision, check the box marked ‘Chance,’ and a minority will be randomly selected for you.”
But even that won’t be enough. There surely will be another problem. Could these be future hashtags?
Why aren’t more gay actors nominated?! #OscarsSoHeteronormative.
Why are categories only male/female?! #OscarsSoGenderBinary.
Why aren’t fat actors ever nominated?! #OscarsSoSkinny.
Why are there so many male hosts?! #OscarsSoSexist.
And just as a catch-all: #OscarsSoWaaaaaaah.