Oscar Nominations 2016: Is Boycotting the Answer?

by Roki Prunali

Oscar Nominations 2016: Is Boycotting the Answer? by Roki Prunali

Yesterday America celebrated the birth of Martin Luther King, and a few people took to social media to underline the issue of the lack of diversity in the Academy Awards’ list of nominees. #Oscarsowhite continues to trend since the nominations were released, with notable performances by Idris Elba in “Beasts of No Nations”, Michael B. Jordan in “Creed” and the cast of “Straight Out of Compton” nowhere to be mentioned. I must admit, after writing about how we were so excited about Leo’s nomination and hope of winning, Tamu and I were noting the extreme presence of a homogenous list of nominations. Who really is to blame?
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One actor in particular, expressed her disappointment on her facebook. Jada Pinkett Smith in a heartfelt facebook video post gave her best to the host Chris Rock, but stated that she will neither be attending nor watching the Academy Awards and urges other African Americans to do the same. People have taken to the internet in support of her stand, while others believe it is due to the fact that her husband, Will Smith, was not nominated after getting a nod at the Golden Globes. Spike Lee responded on his Instagram stating, “40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can’t Act? WTF!!It’s No Coincidence I’m Writing This As We Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday. Dr. King Said “There Comes A Time When One Must Take A Position That Is Neither Safe, Nor Politic, Nor Popular But He Must Take It Because Conscience Tells Him It’s Right”.

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Oscars President, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, also African American, expressed her disappointment as well for the nominations, but also stated, “This is not to take away the greatness…This has been a great year in film, it really has, across the board. You are never going to know what is going to appear on the sheet of paper until you see it.”

Is this boycott warranted because the Academy Awards left out noteworthy performances? Were these nods left out regardless of ethnicity, merely because they were not up to par? Or does the root of the problem lie in the fact that Hollywood needs to make more roles for African American actors in general? So many questions come to mind.

In 1973, Marlon Brando declined attending the Academy Awards when he was nominated for Best Actor for his performance in The Godfather. In his place, he sent a Native American actress, Sacheen Littlefeather. Brando ended up winning the award, but Littlefeather stated that he “very regretfully” could not accept the award, as he was protesting Hollywood’s portrayal of Native Americans in film. Since he had been linked to several social causes over the years, supporters saw his boycotting the awards as authentic in its origin.

What do you think Pretty Birds, is history repeating itself for a good cause?

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