The Academy Award nominees rolled in whiter than a blizzard yesterday.
And I laughed. A good hearty chuckle too. Almost, spilled my tea.
This is quite humiliating. It's not embarrassing for people of color, it's embarrassing for the Academy. I laughed thinking, there is no way you can convince me or anyone else that the best stories written, directed and performed across this all expansive globe, are largely by and about white people.
Last night the #BlackTwitterMovieAwards issued their own nominees:
The recent nomination pool is not only telling of the Academy but the movie industry as a whole.
As everyone talks about those who were snubbed, whether it's Idris Elba for Best Actor in Beasts of A Nation, Ryan Coogler for directing Creed, or anything other than white guys who wrote Straight Outta Compton, I can't help but think about the filmmakers, the actors and directors of color whose work isn't even greenlit.
Less and less people are waiting for the invite from the Academy or the movie industry. Like Ava DuVernay's ARRAY, a collective dedicated to the "amplification of films by people of color and women filmmakers".
It's also reflected in sentiments like Academy Award and Image Award-winning actress Mo' Nique. She told Sway in the Morning, that she is appreciative of every award she has received, "My dream was never to get an Oscar but when I watched the Image awards and I saw those woman that looked like me being called up on that stage, I said one day baby they're gonna call my name … It's our community saying we think you're the best."
The Academy voter ship that is 94 percent white, 76 percent male and on average 63 years-old. Are they becoming less relevant in part because of this? Last year, viewership dropped 16 percent after a hailstorm of critiques, like by the incisive hash tag #OscarsSoWhite created by April Reign. If the Academy continues in this way it will slowly lose credibility.
I'll tune in, if I feel like watching white people award themselves or as my colleague Jenice Armstrong put it, to watch Chris Rock "go in hard on you guys" while hosting.
And for anyone reading thinking, "Why can't the nominees just enjoy their moment? Why do we have to make it about race?" That's a comfortable vantage point when you've always been visible, your stories are always viewed as valid and worthy of praise. Essentially, when you always get the invite.
But I have an award to give of my own.
The Oscars used to be my Super Bowl, but now it's not even a preseason game. They lured me in with the glitz, the glam, and the occasional nominee of color. But as I got older, it began to dawn on me that I actually was not invited to this party. My stories and the stories of non-white individuals were viewed as extra-curricular.
But when a movie about black people like Straight Outta Compton is only nominated for Best Screenplay and the writers are white, and the only Oscar nod for Creed, a movie about black people and the only nomination goes to the one white actors? I gotta applaud the Oscars for their commitment to a role.
So, the award for Best Award Show in an Erasure Series goes to…. the Academy Awards.