Oscar Backlash

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Jacquelyn White, Staff Writer

The nominees for the 88th Academy Awards were announced on Jan. 14, 2016. Some of the nominations include Bryan Cranston, Cate Blanchett, Leonardo DiCaprio and Jennifer Lawrence. Both famous and non-famous people have noticed that for the second year in a row, people of color have not been nominated despite being in roles that were worthy of a nomination.

Although last year people used the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. this year the hashtag has become even more popular. People are using the hashtag to link to an article talking about the nominees. Even on Tumblr, users have quoted what actors have to say about the Oscars adding the hashtag at the end.

Numerous celebrities have gone as far as to say that they will not watch or attend the award show this year. Jada Pinkett Smith announced on Jan.18th that she would be boycotting the Oscars, and Will Smith announced on the 21st that he will be following suit in support of his wife. Despite the fact that he’ll be receiving an Academy Honorary Award, Spike Lee announced he won’t be attending either.

Some celebrities, including Michael Caine, have spoken out in agreement with the Academy’s nominee decisions.

According to People magazine, Caine stated that you can’t vote for an actor “just because he’s black…You’ve got to give a good performance,” Caine said.

Even though she hasn’t seen some of the movies up for awards, Marijean Levering, Chair of Performing & Fine arts in Utica College, thinks there is a problem with how the nominees were chosen. She stated that actors of color are not being given strong lead roles despite their capability. Levering added that the members of the Academy might have a personal bias- conscious or subconscious, toward what they think is a performance that deserves to be rewarded.

“The Academy is biased because of the all-white list of nominees” said Shantia Hunt, a freshman at Utica College.

Hunt feels that there were a lot of roles played by African Americans that deserve a nomination. She listed examples including Will Smith in Concussion, Michael E. Lee in the Perfect Guy, and Michael B. Jordan in Creed. Hunt stated that the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite is “immature” and is causing individuals of all races to stoop to a low level.

 


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