Even before Oscar Nominations came out, there was concern that this year’s nominees would not be representative of the population at large. Once they were announced, there was such lack of diversity that Hollywood luminaries such as Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith have announced that they intend to boycott the Academy Awards. Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who is black, issued a statement expressing that she is “heartbroken and frustrated,” and sharing that, while changes are being made, they need to be more sweeping and have quicker effect.
- Only one woman of color (1%) has ever won the Academy Award for Best Actress
- Only seven men of color (9%) have ever won the Academy Award for Best Actor
- Only one woman (1%) has ever won the Academy Award for Best Director
These numbers could stem from the fact that only 24% of Academy voters are women, and only 7% are people of color.
While I agree with Ms. Boone Isaacs that an Academy that more equitably reflects the U.S. population is a good start, it is a solution that touches only the tip of the iceberg. The real problem lies within the system. It starts with education, on all levels from grade school through college, and ends with who approves the films, proposes the talent, and who controls the purse strings.
Articles of Related Interest:
- Will Film School Reform Lead to Hollywood Diversity?
- How Hollywood Keeps Minorities Out
- $200 Million and Rising: Hollywood Struggles With Soaring Marketing Costs
- Where’s the Diversity, Hollywood? 85 Years of the Academy Awards
- Why Hollywood is frozen in the 1950s: White men are still king of the silver screen with lead roles going to just 26% of women and 11% of minorities
- Women Make Movies: Film and Entertainment Industry Facts
- Women and the Big Picture Report
Please note: This is an editorial by Carol White Llewellyn. It does not necessarily reflect the opinions of RCTV, its Board, Staff or Members.