Snubbed: The Oscars fail to recognize female directors and actresses of color

By Angelina Halas
January 23, 2020

Not everyone feels the need to “thank the Academy,” especially after the 2020 Oscar nominations were announced.

This year’s Academy Awards are once again stirring controversy because many see the nominations as being too male and too white. All directors nominated are white and only one out of the five actresses nominated is black.

“There is a lack of diversity,” sophomore biology major Praise Yormie said. “I don’t think people take females as seriously as men even though they’re out there doing the exact same thing.”

According to The Hill, in 2019, more than 10 percent of top films were directed by women, the highest number in more than a decade, yet the Oscars have only male directors nominated.

“People are still stuck in their old ways and aren’t open to the fact that women can do things that men can do too,” Yormie said.

One movie that many fans feel should have had a chance at an Oscar is “Hustlers” starring Jennifer Lopez. Directed by a woman, this movie focuses on strippers using their sexuality as a survival tool. According to Vanity Fair, that might be a reason that Lopez was not nominated as perhaps the Academy wanted her to play a more “serious” role.

@ronaldrubin sharing the same outrage as many fans over Lopez not receiving a nomination. Screenshot taken from Twitter.

“Males play sexual roles too and still get awards. Sex sells,” Yormie said.

Another actress that was looked over was Lupita Nyong’o for starring in “Us.” She played two different personalities in the movie and received no recognition.

@pacinosangel expressing her love for Nyong’o and her character from “Us.” Screenshot taken from Twitter.

A member of the actors branch interviewed by The Washington Post claims that the nominations have nothing to do with race and that the actresses “didn’t rise to the standard.”

“I just think people still don’t take females seriously,” Yormie said. “Lopez and Nyong’o rightfully deserve at least a nomination.”

Yormie believes that fans who have seen movies should be the ones to choose who receives nominations and awards, while sophomore marketing major Monique Bullock thinks the Oscars should have multiple categories so everyone who deserves a nomination can get one.

“I think there should be more criteria when it comes movie performances,” Bullock said. “Like how we have for presentations, we aren’t just graded on one thing, there’s multiple levels that go into it.”

Bullock also expressed her opinion on why the directors are all men.

“Men dominate a lot. Especially white men, they have a lot of power,” Bullock said. “I think it’s a confidence in success that the Academy has. They sometimes look at women for being less than so it’s like their security as in if a man produces it, it’s more likely to become well known.”

Bullock is on the side that women of color’s culture is being spited against because she believes that the Academy wants nominations to stay the same and not change.

Senior accounting major Ryan Goodridge has a bit of a different approach to the controversy, thinking that maybe some directors and actresses did deserve credit, but weren’t nominated because it could have been an oversight.

Goodridge continued on to explain while both “Hustlers” and “Us” may have been great movies, he can’t discredit the other ones nominated.

“I can’t say that I’ve seen all the other movies that people have been nominated for, so I can’t say that someone should be swapped out for Lopez or Nyong’o,” Goodridge said. “I can’t say that one thing is better than the others.”

Both “Hustlers” and “Us” have higher ratings than three out of the five Oscar nominated leading actress movies. Information from Rotten Tomatoes. Created by Angelina Halas on Canva.

Goodridge offered that the Academy should publish who votes for what and make it more transparent.

“The average person doesn’t know who the Academy is and how the voting works,” Goodridge said. “If they publish who ends up voting, who they voted for and what the actual rules are, it might clear things up.”

Back in 2015, activist April Reign started the hashtag #Oscarssowhite due to their being all-white nominations. In years after, the Oscars had made some changes by adding people of color to their nominations, but it appears as though they are taking steps back.

The Oscars will need to step up their game next year and acknowledge the talented work of women directors and actresses of color to hopefully avoid any more controversy. Maybe then everyone could “thank the Academy.”

Angelina Halas

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