Oscar 2016: OscarsSoWhite Again–Not a Single Black Actor among 20 Nominees

concussion_4_smithIf last year’s all-white acting nominations led to the protest hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, this year’s all-white lineup might trigger similar outrage, #OscarsStillSoWhite.




Photo: Will Smith, potential Best Actor, in Concussion

Once again, the Acting branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) did not nominate any black actors to any of the 20 slots in the four acting categories: Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor and Best Supporting Actress.



Black Directors, Black Actors, and Black-Themed Movies at the Oscars: Or Why and How OscarsStillWhite

Straight Outta Compton

The lack of diversity is also manifest among the top categories.  Straight Outta Compton, the drama about the rise of the rap group N.W.A, got an original screenwriting nomination, but failed to earn a best picture nomination, even though the critically acclaimed movie has been recognized by other groups like SAG-AFTRA, which nominated its cast for a best ensemble award.

The Academy has made a concerted effort to diversify its own membership, inviting 322 new members this past July that included Selma star David Oyelowo, black British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who appears in Concussion, and Straight Outta Compton director F. Gary Gray.
Academy president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who is black, has also announced a new initiative called A2020 to further diversify the Academy itself and also encourage the industry to open up more opportunities for women and minorities.

When it comes to voting for its annual awards, the Academy is at the mercy of the industry itself and whatever films are produced and released in a given year.

This year, only a handful of awards-caliber films focused on black stories, like Compton or the Africa-set Beasts of No Nation.
the_hateful_eight_2_jacksonThere were good performances by black actors in prominent roles, such as Will Smith in Concussion, Michael B. Jordan in Creed, Idris Elba in Beasts of No Nation. and Samuel L. Jackson in The Hateful Eight.
The problem is that all of these movies, with the exception of Creed, were greeted with mixed or negative reviews by critics and, furthermore, did not perform well at the box-office.

Samuel Jackson in The Hateful Eight

Other minority performers, who were perceived as potential contenders, include the Puerto Rico-born Benicio Del Toro, a Supporting Actor winner for the 2000 Traffic.  Earlier, Del Toro was considered to be a possible Supporting Actor nominee for his performance as a CIA operative with a private agenda in Sicario,  a critically acclaimed film that failed to get a Best Picture nod.








Benicio Del Toro in Sicario


Transgender Actors

As expected, Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor, the transgender actresses were were nominated for Spirit Awards for Tangerine, were also overlooked.

Idris Elba

Idris Elba was nominated by BAFTA, SAG-AFTRA and the Golden Globes for his performance as an African warlord in Beasts, and Del Toro was nominated by BAFTA for Sicario.

The Academy’s Actors branch, the largest in the organization, had opportunities to recognize actors of color, but again failed to take them.