rain.png
Tuesday February 25th, 2020 4:13AM

Again? Oscar noms slammed for persistent lack of diversity

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

Actress Issa Rae was ready with her quip, as if she had predicted the Oscar nominations that were announced Monday. “Congratulations to those men,” she said dryly, as the best director nominees — yes, five men — were announced.

Rae's expertly thrown shade echoed through social media as observers took stock of what was, yet again, a pretty bad day for diversity and inclusion in Hollywood. Not only were there no female nominees in directing for the 87th time in Oscar history — a direct snub to Greta Gerwig, director of the acclaimed “Little Women,” as well as several other worthy candidates. There was also only one person of color, Cynthia Erivo, among the 20 acting nominees.

Those slights gave rise to the hashtags #DirectorsSoMale and #OscarsSoWhite and overshadowed the happier news that across all categories, a record 62 women (about a third of nominees) were nominated.

They also had people asking: Why is this happening again, when diversity has been on the front burner for years now, and the Academy has taken steps to overhaul its overwhelmingly white, male membership? What will it take to accomplish real change?

“So here we are again,” said Stacy L. Smith, director of the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative at the University of Southern California, of the nominations. She said the results were particularly frustrating because 2019 was a breakout year for female directors.

“They were out in strong numbers. This was the year of the highest percentage of female directors that we've seen,” she said. “And yet they're not allowed to be lauded by these cultural institutions for their directing prowess.”

There's a “complete disconnect,” Smith added, "between objective criteria of merit and what we are seeing in the nominations for directing at the Academy Awards.”

In terms of race and ethnicity, there was disappointment that only Cynthia Erivo's nomination for “Harriet” prevented an entirely white slate in all four categories — a scenario that first happened in 2015, resulting in the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag, and again in 2016.

The Academy sought thereafter to diversity its ranks. Since 2015, the group’s overall female membership has grown from 25% to 32%, and overall membership of people of color has doubled, from 8% to 16%.

Gil Robertson, president of the African American Film Critics Association, said he wished the acting nominations had been more diverse, but he felt hopeful they were more of a blip than a slide backwards. “I think we're making strides in the right direction,” he said.

Among the most glaring snubs was that of Jennifer Lopez, who had been seen as a virtual shoo-in for a supporting actress nod for playing a stripper in “Hustlers.” In the lead actress category, Awkwafina, who a week ago won a Golden Globe, was denied a nod for her role in “The Farewell." She would have become just the second Asian American nominated for best actress (the first, 1936 nominee Merle Oberon, hid her South Asian heritage).

The omission was a reflection of the difficulty Asian Americans in Hollywood have long had in cracking the acting categories in particular.

“It's been a long, slow battle,” said Chris Tashima, an actor-director and a member of the Academy Asians Action Committee, an informal group of Asian and Pacific Islander members of the Academy. “We've been very much absent. We've been trying to create opportunities for years. But you can't even get nominated if you don't get the roles.”

Tashima added, though, that progress is happening, albeit slowly — with television leading the way in terms of new opportunities. “It's night and day from five years ago,” he said.

Smith said that for women directors, the key problem is an outmoded view that some Academy members have of what a leader is — a very masculine view.

“What needs to change is that stereotypical view of WHO can lead," Smith said. “And until that changes, this is going to keep happening.”

She added: "Research globally suggests that when people think ‘manager,’ they think male. We found the exact same thing with directors. ... The research is very clear. Women aren't being considered for top leadership positions, and when they are, they are often criticized more sharply. We're seeing that playing out right now in the awards process.”

At Time's Up, a group devoted to fighting sexual harassment and sexual assault, Chief Operating Officer Rebecca Goldman pledged to work for change.

“This is why TIME’S UP exists — to ensure women in entertainment and across industries get the opportunities and recognition they deserve,” she said. "And we won’t stop fighting until they do.”

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP National News, Top General short headlines, AP Entertainment, AP Online Movies News, APOnline Celebrity News
© Copyright 2020 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Brazil documentary gets Oscar nomination, exposes division
The Academy Award nomination for a documentary about the impeachment of then-President Dilma Rousseff has once again laid bare the polarization of Latin America's largest democracy
5:35PM ( 5 minutes ago )
US drops designation of China as currency manipulator
The Trump administration is dropping its designation of China as a currency manipulator in advance of the signing Wednesday of a Phase 1 U.S.-China trade agreement
5:28PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Gigi Hadid among potential jurors for Weinstein's rape trial
Supermodel Gigi Hadid is in the running to be a juror in Harvey Weinstein’s rape trial after telling a judge that she thinks she would be able to “keep an open mind on the facts
4:34PM ( 1 hour ago )
Queen agrees to let Harry, Meghan move part time to Canada
Britain’s pragmatic Queen Elizabeth II has brokered a deal to secure the future of the monarchy, charting a course for Prince Harry and his wife, Meghan, that allows them to live part time in Canada while still remaining firmly tied to the House of Windsor
4:06PM ( 1 hour ago )
Leonardo DiCaprio, Taika Waititi react to Oscar nominations
Nominees for the Academy Awards are sharing stories of the moments they heard about the recognition
3:51PM ( 1 hour ago )
AP Entertainment
ScarJo and Erivo go for 2, and other Oscar facts and figures
Antonio Banderas has received his first Academy Award nomination for the first time
11:55AM ( 5 hours ago )
Beyoncé snubbed at Oscars; Elton John, Randy Newman get nods
Beyoncé’s “Spirit” from “The Lion King” didn’t roar loud enough for the Academy Awards: The song didn’t earn a nomination for best original song, though Randy Newman, Elton John and the husband-wife duo Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez have a chance at winning another Oscar for songwriting
11:53AM ( 5 hours ago )
Here we go again: #DirectorsSoMale at the Oscars
No female directing nominees
11:05AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Online Movies News
Queen to host crisis summit on Harry and Meghan's future
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II is expected to meet Prince Harry face to face for the first time since he and his wife, Meghan, unveiled their controversial plan to walk away from royal roles
6:19AM ( 11 hours ago )
Colbert is 'Tooning Out the News' with new animated series
Late-night host Stephen Colbert has yet another outlet for satire: He's producing a series with animated characters who riff on current events and interview real newsmakers
10:21PM ( 19 hours ago )
Patriots star Edelman arrested for vandalism in California
New England Patriots star Julian Edelman was arrested near LA on suspicion of misdemeanor vandalism after allegedly jumping on the hood of someone's car
7:24PM ( 22 hours ago )
APOnline Celebrity News
Brazil documentary gets Oscar nomination, exposes division
The Academy Award nomination for a documentary about the impeachment of then-President Dilma Rousseff has once again laid bare the polarization of Latin America's largest democracy
5:35PM ( 5 minutes ago )
US drops designation of China as currency manipulator
The Trump administration is dropping its designation of China as a currency manipulator in advance of the signing Wednesday of a Phase 1 U.S.-China trade agreement
5:28PM ( 11 minutes ago )
Lebanese protesters block road outside central bank
Lebanese protesters have returned to the streets after weeks of calm, impatient with politicians failing to tackle a deepening economic crisis
5:23PM ( 17 minutes ago )
Trump to become fan in chief at college football title game
President Donald Trump will turn sports fan for an evening as he attends the College Football Playoff Championship game on Monday between No. 1 Louisiana State University and No. 3 Clemson
5:08PM ( 32 minutes ago )
Trump use of doctored Pelosi-Schumer photo draws Muslim ire
President Donald Trump is drawing criticism for circulating a fake photo of two Democratic leaders wearing traditional Muslim attire in front of the Iranian flag
4:59PM ( 40 minutes ago )