After filing through various articles and social media outcries on this years debut of the Oscars, I’ve decided that progress has been made in terms of racial bias. However, how much progress? 2017 has felt like a time of high tension in the United States. With bans, walls, and protests, the #OscarsSoWhite trend seemed to hold a bit more significance to everyone this year.
After two back-to-back years of only nominating white actors and actresses for the lead and supporting roles in acting categories, it was about time that the Academy decided to nominate six people of color in every single performer category. In the past, Academy voters have been 94% white, 77% male, and their median age was 62. After decades of this type of discrimination, it was only time that the Oscars and the Academy made a change.
Viola Davis, Naomie Harris, Octavia Spencer, and Ruth Negga were all nominated for their acting roles. Denzel Washington was nominated for Best Actor; Ava Duvernay was nominated for her documentary 13th. And it didn’t just stop at nominations, many of them took home an Oscar. Mahershala Ali was the first ever Muslim actor to take home an Oscar. Even one of the most out-of-the-ordinary things to happen on Oscar night resulted in the Best Picture Oscar to go to Moonlight.
While many felt elated for this success, others didn’t get the same sense of diversity. They took to Twitter to voice their opinions.
Additionally, several off-script altercations created a lot of buzz. After unloading and surprising a bunch of tourist’s, unaware that they were walking into the Oscars, Jimmy Kimmel began to ask them questions. When he asked one lady what her name was, she told him it was Yulree, saying it rhymes with “jewelry,” after sensing his hesitation. After moving on and asking her husband, Patrick, his name, he replied with “That’s a name.” Kimmel also made a joke about Mahershala Ali’s name. He asked the Moonlight star how his newborn daughter’s name could possibly live up to something so “exotic.”
While there were tremendous steps taken to better the range of diversity in regards to all things Oscars, they have quite a way to go. I’ll leave it up to you to feel all the things you need to feel when thinking about if this year’s Oscars was #SoWhite.