By Jared Talbot | email@example.com
For the second year in a row the annual Academy Awards had no African-American actors up for an Oscar, and this year it created an uproar. Each year a total of 20 possible actors can be up for an Oscar, which is widely known as the biggest honor in Hollywood. Yet for a second consecutive year all of the 20 actors that were nominated were white. This has begged the question as to whether or not this is a serious problem, or whether or not it is simply coincidence.
Chris Rock a very popular African-American comedian and actor hosted the 88th academy award ceremony and talked about the issue head on. Straight from his opening monologue, Rock made consistent joke’s regarding the “elephant in the room.”
As soon as Rock was introduced and walked on stage he said, “Welcome to the Oscars, otherwise known as the white people’s choice awards.” Though he was not the only one, he truly went after this issue.
Upon the announcement of the Oscar’s nominees, a trend on social media began to travel across the nation. The trend #Oscarssowhite was tweeted out millions of times across twitter as many took offense to the lack of diversity at the awards. April Reign started this viral trend that turned into a campaign. She claims the trend started off as a “joke,” but “the conversation turned into something much more serious expanding into a discussion about the lack of representation in film.”
Flagler College Theatre Arts Assistant Professor Kip Taisey has been around the arts and entertainment industry for many years. He believes there needs to be a change, but that it starts with more opportunity. “I find the lack of diversity incredibly problematic,” he said. “The problem, in my opinion, isn’t that there weren’t more people of color nominated, but that there weren’t more opportunities for people of color to be nominated in the first place.” Chris Rock also talked about this as well during the ceremony. He asked not only for equality in terms of recognition, but in terms of opportunity.
Local Flagler students also shed their opinions on the subject as many have heard both about the trend and know quite a bit about the issue. Sophomore Evan Courtney, who is of multiple ethnicities, believes that it’s an issue in various parts of Hollywood. “I don’t think it’s an issue with the Academy, but rather the casting directors who choose guys like Leonardo DiCaprio compared to less experienced minority actors.” Sophomore Gustavo Farias had a different view: “I think that the actors who get nominated are the ones who deserved it, and I don’t think it is racist. The president of the Academy is African-American.”