Oscar Opinion: Developments in Diversity Come Slowly


The cover image for the movie Moonlight.

Maya Durham, Opinion Editor

We all remember the #OscarsSoWhite trend from the past two years — backlash against the Academy for failing to nominate people of color for any of the major awards categories. Celebrities and viewers alike boycotted the awards show because of this, causing an eight-year all time low in ratings.

Many people attributed this glaring lack of diversity to the general makeup of the Academy, which was mostly white, male voters. In an attempt to fix the diversity problem and subsequent criticism, they added more women and people of color to the board. The results immediately showed improvement. Seven of the twenty nominees for the top four categories (Actor/Actress in a Leading Role and Actor/Actress in a Supporting Role) are people of color, and four of the movies up for “Best Picture” have casts who are predominantly people of color.

Many of these nominations led to records made at the Academy — the six black actors/actresses nominated makes the largest group nominated in one year, and the seven total non white actors ties with the record previously set in 2007. However, there’s still a long way to go. Dev Patel, who is nominated for “Actor in a Supporting Role,” is only the third actor of Indian descent ever nominated, and the only Asian actor nominated this year. There are also no Latinx or Hispanic nominees this year.

So, while the Academy is trying to diversify some, they still have a long way to go.