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The Oscar Diversity Issue Isn’t Just A Black Problem

On last night’s Oscar telecast, host Chris Rock poked fun at the controversy over there being no Black actor nominees and very little recognition of non-Whites in other categories as well. The massive #Oscarssowhite campaign on social media led to celebrities like Will and Jada Pinkett-Smith and Spike Lee boycotting the Oscars. But Rock seemed to only want to talk about the lack of inclusion of African-Americans but the problem goes much deeper than that. While it is true that Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu won best director and cinematographer Emmanuel “El Chivo” Lubezki won several years in a row, Latinos are also grossly underrepresented. The truth is that the Academy voters are 85% White and until more people from different ethnic groups are allowed into the Academy, this trend is going to continue.

But it isn’t only Latinos and Blacks that the Academy ignores. The only time there were Asians on the stage were during an offensive joke about child labor. There were no Native Americans either. And while there are specifically “women” categories like Best Actress, as far as the jobs behind the camera, women are mostly absent, (except in categories like costume and make-up design). In the 88 year history of the Oscars only ONE woman has ever won best director, (Kathryn Bigelow for “The Hurt Locker”). If the Academy really wants to become more diverse it isn’t just that one organization that has to change. The entire film industry has to shift. That’s going to be tough, take it from me.

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