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The Academy Awards, From #OscarsSoWhite To…Even Whiter?

Lulu Wang, and Awkwafina directed and starred (respectively) in "The Farewell," a movie that some felt was overlooked in this year's Academy Awards.
Lulu Wang, and Awkwafina directed and starred (respectively) in "The Farewell," a movie that some felt was overlooked in this year's Academy Awards.

The 92nd Academy Awards are coming up soon—and already this year’s nominees have been criticized for being overwhelmingly white and male.

This year, “1917” and “Joker” picked up the most nominations, whileacclaimed films like “Little Women” and “The Farewell” received little to none. For some moviegoers, this feels like a snub from the Academy and a failure to celebrate diversity.

But it’s not like this issue is brand-new. In the nearly hundred-year history of the Academy Awards, only one woman has ever won Best Director: Kathryn Bigelow for 2009’s “The Hurt Locker.” In 2015, April Reign called out the Academy for a lack of diversity in the pool of nominees and created the viral hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. This year, she says the nominations are no different:

“Overwhelmingly, what we saw in 2019 with these nominations is that most of them are films that reflect the experiences of straight white men. Since the majority of the Academy are white males, and the nominations are viewed through their lens, that may explain why we are seeing the nominations that we are.”

In the five years since the hashtag took over Twitter, the Academy has launched an initiative with a goal to double its members of color and women in the organization. The Los Angeles Times reported that since 2016, the organization has doubled the number of minorities within its ranks and is on track to double the number of women within it by the end of next year.

While it seems like the Academy achieved its goal by opening the doors to more women and people of color, some feel like this year’s nominees signify a step backward.

Are the Academy Awards really changing? What role can moviegoers play in creating diversity in such an elite industry?

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