Are Oscars Still White?

This year’s 95th Academy Awards had many accolades. Michelle Yeoh became the first Asian woman to win an Oscar for Best Actress in a leading role, Ruth Carter became the first Black woman to win two Oscars, and “Naatu Naatu” became the first Indian film to receive Best Original Song. Though these are huge steps toward the representation of people of color in Hollywood, is this enough to fix the Academy’s diversity problem?

In recent years, the Academy has been under fire for its lack of diversity in nominations. There have been numerous times that diverse films and casts were snubbed from receiving the most prestigious award in Hollywood. In 2015, the hashtag, #OscarSoWhite, spread all over social media after out of the 20 actors nominated, not a single one of them was a person of color. After the major backlash and scrutiny, the Academy’s President, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, was asked if the Academy had a diversity problem; She said, “Not at all.” 

The Academy has made PR initiatives towards fixing its reputation. In 2020 the Academy created representation and inclusion standards that will be in effect in 2024. Films must meet certain diversity standards both on and off the camera to be eligible for Best Picture. They have also attempted to make their membership more diverse and have presenters and performers of different backgrounds in their ceremonies.

Though PR has made strides to create a more inclusive and diverse space in Hollywood, they still have a long way to go. There are still many barriers and a lack of opportunities for people of color in the film industry. There may be many hurdles to achieving a more representative environment, but I have hope that we will achieve that soon.

Nia Knights, Account Associate


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