Predictably, after the swift and cutting backlash from the blinding whiteness of this year’s Oscar nominations – from the front lines of Twitter (see: #OscarsSoWhite) to the Rev. Al Sharpton — the Academy itself responded, in the form of one Cheryl Boone Isaacs (pictured), the African American woman who heads the organization.
Boone Isaacs, the first African American and third woman at the helm of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, the trade organization that produces the Oscars, said on Friday that the Academy is “committed to seeking out diversity of voice and opinion,” according to NBC News.
This year’s Oscars are apparently the “least racially diverse” (read whitest) in 17 years— all the performers nominated across the four acting categories are white. Stunningly, David Oyelowo, the actor who played Martin Luther King in “Selma,” and “Selma” director Ava DuVernay were shut out. Perhaps the only silver lining is that “Selma” itself has been nominated for Best Picture.
And remember this is just about nominations – not even wins —DuVernay and Oyewelo were both nominated for Golden Globes this year, but left that ceremony empty handed.
After the nominations were announced on Thursday, The Rev. Al Sharpton (pictured below) weighed in on this latest debacle, calling this year’s nominations “appallingly insulting in the year of 2015,” reports the New York Daily News.
“In the time of Staten Island and Ferguson, to have one of the most shutout Oscar nights in recent memory is something that is incongruous,” Sharpton said to the News.
He isn’t the only one feeling that way. Shortly after the list was announced, the hilariously biting #OscarsSoWhite hashtag began roaming the Twitterverse.
“It was a total blow, it was like getting hit in the stomach,” commented Shawn Edwards, a Fox Network film critic who runs ILoveBlackMovies.com, to USA Today. “It was like, ‘Here we go again.’
“I was disappointed but not shocked,” says Edwards.
Sharpton also noted that the only film highly representing blacks this year is about oppression.
“The only category we’re well represented is in the best picture nomination and it’s a movie about blacks being shut out of society,” he said. “And now we’re shut out of Hollywood.”
The reverend says he plans on meeting with allies to discuss “potential actions” in response, either before or during the February 22nd ceremony.