Want to know the last five movies to win Best Picture at the Oscars?
Birdman, 12 Years a Slave, Argo, The Artist, and the King’s Speech.
Only one of them had a black leading actor.
What about the Best Actor winners? Only two black men, Jamie Foxx and Denzel Washington, have won in the last 15 years.
In fact, only 32 of 2,900 people that have won an Academy Award have been black, according to huffingtonpost.com.
This is unacceptable.
In a country that pledges equality for all, the lack of black people being honored at the Oscars proves that discrimination is still implemented into the voting system, whether it’s intended or not.
This becomes even clearer when you look at the Academy itself, which is “93 percent white, 76 percent male, average age 63,” according to Darnell Hunt, director of UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies.
The result is that “people are voting for things that resonate with their experiences and unfortunately it’s too narrow a slice,” Hunt writes.
On Jan. 22, the Academy took an amazing leap and voted to increase the diversity within the board. That was a fantastic moment for both the film industry and the black community.
However, the fact remains, it’s 2016. Why did it take so long?
The answer is simple: Racism still exists today. Then again, we knew that. The topic has taken over mainstream American media and is questioning the very ideology we pledge to.
Only now are we starting to see cracks in our own Americana. Now those who are affected are finally getting a voice in the form of Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee, both prominent film presences.
“But, How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White? And Let’s Not Even Get Into The Other Branches. 40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can’t Act?!,” Lee wrote in an Instagram post.
Both Lee and Smith have issued a boycott of this year’s Academy Awards. This has led to a lot of backlash and praise for the boycott.
I believe this is something that will make matters worse. Why push the gap further? Why separate the very institute that you’re trying to unite? If you want to have something recognized, why would you take it away?
The Academy and its reforms however stand as a metaphor for the time we are find ourselves in now. The fight that was won within the Academy is only one battle in the war on racism.
We can see the results are the same as well. Changes are being made but the issue is still present in an ever-changing culture.