The L.A. arm of Al Sharpton’s National Action Network will protest this Sunday’s Academy Awards because of the lack of diversity among the major nominees.
Although “Selma” is in the running for best picture, and “Birdman” filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu is up for best director and screenplay, critics are outraged that most of the current Oscar hopefuls – including all of the acting nominees – are white.
The fact that “Selma” star David Oyelowo and director Ava DuVernay were omitted from the Oscar nods is seen by many as evidence of racial bias in the Academy Awards. But recent history proves that this is not the case.
It is the nature of the Academy Awards that artistic excellence sometimes goes unrecognized. The fires of controversy flare up every spring as deserving films, filmmakers and performers are denied nominations for the movie industry’s most prestigious awards. The stars of “Selma” weren’t the only performers ignored by Oscar.
After Jennifer Aniston and Jessica Chastain landed Golden Globe nominations for their work in “Cake” and “A Most Violent Year,” a lot of people figured they were a lock for Oscar nods. But the Academy bypassed both actresses.
Some of the movie world’s most honored artists have gotten the cold shoulder from Oscar despite multiple nominations. Although he was nominated five times Alfred Hitchcock, one of the most innovative and acclaimed filmmakers of the twentieth century, was never granted a best director Oscar. (His 1940 thriller, “Rebecca,” was named best picture but that award goes to the producer, not the director.) The celebrated and versatile actor Peter O’Toole was nominated eight times as best actor (making him the most-nominated performer in Academy Awards history) and he lost all eight times. His last shot at Oscar gold came in 2006 when O’Toole (then 74 years-old and in challenged health) lost to Forest Whitaker who channeled Ugandan dictator Idi Amin in “The Last King of Scotland.”