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The no diversity awards

THE OSCARS(r) - The 89th Oscars(r) broadcasts live on Oscar(r) SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2017, on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Adam Rose)

by Michaela Thomas

It’s that time of the year again, award season. From the Golden Globes to the Oscars, movie fans can watch their favorite actors, directors and writers compete for a chance to go home with one of these prestigious awards. However, their lack of diversity is one of the major issues looming over these events.

 On Monday, Jan. 13, many were shocked that there seemed to be a lack of diversity among the Oscar nominees announced. In major acting award categories, such as Best Actor and Best Actress, there are only two nominees of color. There are no nominees of color when it comes to the Best Supporting Actor/Actress awards.

 “I think that [lack of racial diversity in nominations] has a lot to do with what we’ve been conditioned as to what good film making is,” said Mykai Eastman, an African American University of Tampa senior Theater student. “It has a lot to do with what white Hollywood tends to push forward, plus the people who are actually doing these nominations aren’t people who look diverse.”

 This especially comes as a shock considering that four years ago, on Jan. 22, 2016, the Oscars had announced action to increase their diversity. An argument could be made that there really were not a lot of projects that featured diverse casts and that is why the Oscar nominations look this way. However, in a golden age of film and media, that argument might not hold true as it once did. 

“America has access to sites like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, even things like Crunchy Roll that cater directly to a genre,” said Destiny Greer, senior Theater and Art major. “The amount of media being created is not limited to that of white men, therefore why are we only seeing them be rewarded?”

 There were many snubbed movies as it pertained to diverse films and the diverse actors that played in them. These movies include Lorene Scafaria’s “Hustlers”, Jordan Peele’s “Us”, Eddie Murphy’s “Dolemite Is My Name”, “Just Mercy” and “The Farewell”. 

“I remember a couple of years ago when the first Creed movie came out and Sylvester Stallone received a nomination for Creed and Michael B. Jordan did not,” said Iyanna Lott, a lead with Black Campus Ministries at UT. “No offense to Sylvester Stallone, he’s an amazing actor but Michael B. Jordan was the heart of the movie.”

 There was also the lack of diversity in the Best Director award category for the Oscar nominations, which has been made male dominated for the second year in a row. Greta Gerwig, the director of “Little Women” was not even nominated in the category. 

 Other award shows like the Golden Globes or the Emmys seem to do a better job nominating projects that reflect the current talent pool. 

 At the Golden Globes, “Dolemite Is My Name” was nominated for Best Motion Picture in the Musical or Comedy category, Awkwafina was nominated for and won Best Performance by and Actress in a Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, and Jennifer Lopez was nominated for Best Performance by an Actress is a Supporting Role. 

 Although these seem like major feats, there are still many categories that are void of diversity nominees altogether. 

 The Emmys only nominated white actors in categories like Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series, Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Comedy Series, Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series.

“I am surprised that at this time in America, Hollywood is still supporting and spinning a narrative that Americans only want to hear and see stories from white male perspective,” said Greer. 

 Now that America is in a new age of film and media, which represents a lot of diverse cultures and content, many believe that these award shows need to reflect this as well. There is still hope though for the future. 

 The Oscars are still implementing their diversity initiative and more and more diverse projects are being shown on larger and wider scales. Maybe in time these award shows will truly begin to reflect the diverse media that average people see everyday.

Michaela Thomas can be reached at michaela.thomas@spartans.ut.edu

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