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Academy Members Respond to Oscars 2016 Lack of Diversity, Speak Out About Racism

Academy Members Respond to Oscars 2016 Lack of Diversity, Speak Out About Racism

Some members of the Academy are speaking out about the lack of diversity in the acting categories for the upcoming 2016 Oscars.

“I voted for a number of black performers, and I was sorry they weren’t nominated,” The Artist’s Penelope Ann Miller told THR. “But to imply that this is because all of us are racists is extremely offensive. I don’t want to be lumped into a category of being a racist because I’m certainly not and because I support and benefit from the talent of black people in this business. It was just an incredibly competitive year.”

“I loved Beasts of No Nation, and I loved Idris Elba in it — I just think not enough people saw it, and that’s sometimes what happens. Straight Outta Compton was a great film; I think it just lost some Academy members who are older. There were a lot of omissions of white people that I think were just as disappointing — I’m sure [Spotlight's] Michael Keaton is bummed, you know?” Penelope continued.

Another member of the Academy, who chose to remain anonymous, told the publication, “I’m very offended by the idea that some people are calling us racists — race was the furthest thing from my mind when I cast my ballot, and in fact I nominated one person of color for an award. Such a sweeping declaration is extremely irresponsible.”

Click inside to read what one writer told THR about the #OscarsSoWhite movement…

“I cannot prove the Academy or anyone else is not racist,” writer Jeremy Larner said. “I have voted for many people of color for awards.” He adds, “I happen to think Straight Outta Compton is not a great film for reasons of structure and substance. I can imagine it is a powerful affirmation for those who share the assumptions of its music and see it as fans. But to me, a good film has to show a lot more than this one does.”

“It is not a time to make enemies among those who would move us further in the direction of fairness, freedom and justice,” Jeremy said. Penelope continued, “There were an incredible number of films in 2015 that were primarily about white people. Talk to the studios about changing that, not the Academy. There’s only so much we can do. I think when you make race the issue, it can divide people even further, and that’s what I worry about.”

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Posted to: 2016 Oscars

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  • Courtney Kennedy

    the Oscars aren’t racist it’s chosen by merit of talent and they didn’t feel like Will Smith deserved a nomination this year. last I checked Jada Pinkett Smith has never been invited to join the academy of motion picture arts and sciences so her call for a boycott is a moot point

  • evie

    Yes, because when someone black isn’t nominated or God forbid lose the award to a white person, it’s a racism!! Yeah sure, all white people are racists and others are just victims..it’s getting old, not just in America.

  • goshdarling

    The Oscars haven’t been relevant for a long time now whether racism is involved or not. There are many actors who haven’t been nominated who deserved to be. I’ll just add my two cents that the fact Matt Damon got nominated for The Martian shows how the Oscars just choose their favourite peoples and not the actual role. That role could have been played by Channing Tatum, it was nothing difficult.

  • VanityInsecurity

    It is extremely offensive & the people who are constantly bashing the Academy should be deeply ashamed of themselves. Race has nothing to do with the choice of nominees.. if you want to place blame somewhere place it with the studios who don’t promote more diversity or for that matter the real issue in the industry is the lack of women writers, directors.. lack of women choices for great roles after 40. this whole race thing has been beaten to death & its not a fair assessment to make such a bold statement/boycott over something that just isn’t true.

  • LadyRed

    Racism does exist in the world, even in entertainment. Anyone who disputes that is either naive or in denial. However, the solution isn’t so cut and dry as to boycott the award show like Jada Smith has recommended. I think the problem has more to do with what George Clooney states: there are less minorities in movies today than a decade ago. That seems like the studios’ fault. I also think there may be a lack of diversity in the academy, meaning that most people in it have one particular taste. For instance, it’s unlikely that the people who watch something like “Brooklyn” will like “straight outta compton” as well.

  • LadyRed

    It is a popularity contest and a lot of these stars actually campaign for them. Like any campaign, it really seems to boil down to who has a best one.

  • Swagsaad

    agree tbh

  • Swagsaad

    the Oscars aren’t racist , race has nothing to do with the choice of nominees, they need to stop

  • Visitor

    I don’t think many of these people calling the Academy racist understand the process. It’s not that SOC or Beast of No Nation didn’t get votes. They just didn’t get ENOUGH to make the cut. As Penelope pointed out, many people didn’t see it.

    The Academy members are OLDER people. ‘Beast’ was on Netflix–a medium that appeals to YOUNGER people. There’s also a very anti-Netflix climate (unwillingness to embrace streaming services).

    Last Year, some Academy members interviewed said they didn’t vote for The Wolf of Wall Street due to the swearing in the movie (record-breaker). I think SOC suffered the same fate. It’s a movie loved by younger viewers, but hated by older viewers, sensitive to the swearing/vulgarity.

    As Penelope also pointed out, every year there are people left off who shouldn’t be.

  • Dee

    “I loved Beasts of No Nation, and I loved Idris Elba in it — I just think not enough people saw it, and that’s sometimes what happens. Straight Outta Compton was a great film; I think it just lost some Academy members who are older”…That says a lot to me. How are they choosing on merit if they don’t even watch the movies with POC? And the fact that the makeup of the members doesn’t represent america today doesn’t help either.

  • Revengefan0101

    This was confusing to me. The studios send out screeners for the movies so I’m not sure why Academy members wouldn’t have seen Beasts of No Nation.

  • Esmeralda

    Why are they even explaining themselves?? How many black people even saw Spotlight? The Revenant? How many even saw the movie they’re complaining about which was Concussion? How many black people can say who Mark Ruffalo is? Is he going to complain that a demographic is not seeing his films? WTF. It’s just ridiculous how Jada Pinkett Smith caused such a division of people based on race just because her husband wasn’t nominated! As far as I can remember, she was proudly sitting front row when he was nominated for Ali and The Pursuit of Happyness. He didn’t win but it sure didn’t let her get so upset to boycott anything. Self entitlement at its finest!

  • Ariana

    I agree with you. The Academy members have a right to chose who was great and once again, the Oscars are not about skin color but about how good a movie or performance is. Giving awards to people just because they are black is stupid. If that the case, why don’t we start giving out awards to dogs? Cats?

  • Eathan Crane

    When they stop making crap like Ride Along, Barbershop, Madea and Straight Outta Compton, maybe they will have the time to actually star in a decent drama and earn themselves a nomination and an eventual win. The Academy usually doesn’t nominate action and comedic roles, best chance of winning an Oscar is playing someone famous or psychotic or something that’s very well written and acted.

  • Gina

    Some say racism, others say racial bias. Sometimes the end result makes it hard to tell the difference. Some people aren’t aware of their own racial bias and get indignant when it’s construed as them being racist.

  • Baseliner

    the Academy members are right! don’t blame them! blame the guys that run the studios and fund movies. the Academy can’t pick movies with minority performers if there are not that many.

  • disqus_tu0VPi4B9Z

    I can understand the black people in their right to claim equality. I believe that humanity has advanced to modify their perception of racism and much more needs to be improved. But I also believe that black people have an inferiority feeling that does not allow them to enjoy all the progress and achievements. They are focused only complain about everything. There are other races like the Chinese and all Asian diversity, Latinos, etc which are not so complaint. They have also made great achievements and demonstrated that we are all equal. So why cry for an Oscar and conclude that because they are black, the Academy is not taking them into consideration? The Oscars are progressing and have included in their awards to black people. Not all years are the same. And there are also white actors who carry a lifetime waiting for an Oscar and they have never received it, however Lupita, a newly and young woman actress won the award being black. And everybody black and white, Asian and of all races applauded her. I wonder why black people soon forget their achievements? Why they are in constant complaint? Why accused of racist the members of the academy? I think and conclude it’s for the inferiority feelings they have. That thing is not letting them past the page. Will Smith and wife are famous black and millionaires, but their own inferiority is guiding them to call this boycott against the academy. My advice, enjoy the achievements and encourage others to continue celebrating equality without complaints. And for Lupita, don’t forget that the same Academy that you are judging gave you the most desirable award. And that fact is so far, very far of the supposed lack of diversity.

  • The Absolute Truth

    Agree, the problem with the Academy to many OLD people.

  • Mary E

    Inarritu I guess doesn’t count in that mix, and could be two in a row. I guess in certain minds Mexicans/Latinos are no longer ppl of color.

  • Ariana

    Soon the Craptashians will be demanding Oscars. I will then BOYCOTT the Oscars if that happens!

  • FrenchGirl

    Ageism is racism

  • FrenchGirl

    Because Netfix didn’t send screeners for example ?
    Warner Bros didn’t campaign for Creed. it is Stallone who does his own campaign after that the journalists made buzz on him

  • Ariana

    Jada doesn’t realize she is making harder for other blacks who want to win on merit look bad. There is a reason why we haven’t heard Denzel, SLJ, and even her own husband speak out against this. They do not want to be blacklisted from Hollywood and that is what will happen to Jada, Spike, Lupita and all these other morons who are crying racism for no reason.
    I find their little movement disgusting, disrespectful and racist towards the nominees. Poor Leo, this might finally be his year but he can’t enjoy it without a bunch of black cry-babies making him feel bad about it.

  • Ariana

    I find it funny how that David Owleyo(?) from Selma is stupid enough to say that Ride along 2 is right now the biggest movie in the world just because it topped SW7 ( after what? 8 weeks of being no/1) and how he even was stupid enough to say Empire is the no.1 TV show right now. Therefore, because of that reason, blacks deserve Oscars.
    The man could not be any more wrong. 1st of all, his facts are wrong: Ride Along 2 is not the biggest movie in the world nor is Empire the biggest tv show right now either.

  • LJ

    I agree with the Academy. It is not their fault that the selection is what it is. However, let us not sit here and pretend that Hollywood lacks diversity in who they select or hire for their roles and production. Also, whose fault is it that blacks are the only minority group that gets up to complain (something we are honestly tired of doing) about the lack of diversity in the Academy, in Hollywoood, or in life in general? Without it, the issue of exclusion of opportunities for other minorities and women would not be up for conversation right now. If women, Hispanics, Asians, Indians, Native Americans, etc. all rallied and gave their opinions,too, then maybe there would be a greater push for more diversity, including those groups, in Hollywood.

  • Ariana

    BONN is considered a TV movie actually since it was financed by Netflix. TV movies do not go to the Oscars.

  • Ariana

    I agree with you. Why should those lame movies be nominated for Oscars? Just because they have blacks directing or acting in it?
    Can you imgine Kevin Smith crying foul just because nobody wants to give him a Best Director Oscar for Clerks? LOL!

  • The Absolute Truth

    Nope, to tired to explain

  • Eathan Crane

    So basically what they are saying, they will change the voting system so that black people can vote for black actors, because they are black, so they end up being nominated. I’m scared at the future of Oscars looking like MTV Awards with Ice Cube, Kevin Hart and Nia Long winning awards.

    When will people understand that the votes for Oscar nominations are NOT based on skin color but actual actors’ performance?

  • Richard DuPont

    They’re talking about acting categories. Inarritu is a director and nominated for best director.

  • Richard DuPont

    Based on what? It’s still the top award show for artists who actually work in Hollywood. It still averages 39 million viewers a year. Just because you don’t watch doesn’t mean it isn’t relevant. Just because you’re upset actors you think deserve nominations aren’t nominated doesn’t make the show irrelevant. Lower your sense of entitlement. Peoples? You must mean people. And Damon got GREAT reviews for The Martian. You think the role was nothing difficult. Actual people who understand the craft disagree. And every year we see unknowns and new comers getting nominated instead of popular movie stars, so your logic completely fails.

  • Richard DuPont

    Monique and Sean Penn both won while refusing to campaign.

  • goshdarling

    Just because it’s the top award show, doesn’t mean it’s the most authentic. Perhaps it used to be. The Oscars have been losing viewers for years. Wouldn’t be surprised if this boycotting thing is part of a PR stunt to gain interest. I’m sure people are more keen to see what Chris Rock will say. I saw The Martian, and I could see Channing in that role as well. The role is very generic. Five years or a year from now, you know who will say, remember Damon in The Martian, NO ONE. It’s not a memorable role.

  • TivoliEclipse

    It is the White Oscars Show. Just call it what it is, so the rest of America will know how to proceed.Call it what it mucking is!!!!!

  • TivoliEclipse

    What is extremely offensive are white people (or anyone for that matter) insisting racism and white privilege in Hollywood is not the case in this matter. What country do you live in? Are you delusional? I get it. All White Americans are not racists — but too many white Americans are racists — and institutional racism impacts Black American lives — our children’s lives! Of course, Black Americans have to address white racism. Two years straight of #oscarsowhite? Stop pretending you don’t know something smells in Denmark.

  • TivoliEclipse

    What is extremely offensive are white people (or anyone for that matter) insisting racism and white privilege in Hollywood is not the case in this matter. What country do you live in? Are you delusional? I get it. All White Americans are not racists — but too many white Americans are racists — and institutional racism impacts Black American lives — our children’s lives! Of course, Black Americans have to address white racism. Two years straight of #oscarsowhite? Stop pretending you don’t know something smells in Denmark.

  • Aristotle

    But Mary’s point still stands. If the Oscars are full of evil white devils imbued with venomous racism, why would they permit a Hispanic director to be on the cusp of winning back-to-back Best Director awards?

  • Perry Widhalm

    You are a racist idiot.

  • Perry Widhalm

    You are a racist idiot.

  • Perry Widhalm

    You are a racist idiot.

  • TivoliEclipse

    We’re done pretending — stupid.

  • TivoliEclipse

    The Smiths said it was not about Will Smith! You don’t know Jada. People have actually imagined what she thinks — and decided it’s true. That’s dumb. Hattie McDaniel could not sit in the pantheon when she received her Oscar for ‘Gone with the Wind.’ Snubs from the Academy are not new — but it is getting old. Black people MUST get over Oscar and move on… Frankly, forgetting about Oscar is long overdue.

  • The Absolute Truth

    In 2013 93% of the Academy were White Men – medium age 63.
    How is that ageism

  • The Absolute Truth

    In 2013 the Academy consisted of 93% White Men, medium age 63.

  • The Absolute Truth

    Mark Ruffalo is the latest Hulk

  • The Absolute Truth

    In 2013 the Academy consisted of 93% White Men, medium age 63

    That’s the issue.

    FYI Rich White people look down at poor white trash…just saying

  • The Absolute Truth

    Yes they only made 4 films.
    Wait u forgot Friday

  • The Absolute Truth

    I say old people – medium age of the Academy 63

  • The Absolute Truth

    I say old people – medium age of the Academy 63

  • The Absolute Truth

    I say old people – medium age of the Academy 63

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