Yesterday, the Academy Awards (Oscars) took place at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, CA. The Oscars has been very white, leading to the hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite. There was no exception to this at all yesterday, as there were only FIVE, yes, FIVE Black nominees for awards yesterday. The five nominees marked a three year low; that’s down from 15 in 2019, 13 in 2018 and 18 in 2017.
However, of the five nominees, two won. American Factory, the documentary produced by Barack and Michelle Obama won Best Documentary Feature. The other winner in the category of Best Animated Short was Matthew Cherry's Hair Love, which was produced, created, and directed by Cherry. Karen Rupert Toliver also served as a producer for the short as well. Issa Rae lent her voice to the short that was distributed by Sony Pictures prior to the showing of Angry Birds 2.
The Oscars needs to do better. This is awful. With so much representation in the film industry, Black people deserve more nominations and victories. We are slighted at these awards year in and year out. So much, that Janelle Monáe performed during the show and had her dancers dressed as Black characters that have been snubbed by the Academy in years past.
Monáe said, "It’s time to come alive because the Oscars is so white. Tonight we celebrate all the amazing talent in this room.” We celebrate all the women who directed phenomenal films. And I’m so proud to stand here as a black queer artist telling stories. Happy Black History Month!”
Cynthia Erivo is the first Black-British actress to be nominated, the second Black woman to receive multiple nominations in the same year, and the third person nominated for an acting award & a music award (Best Original Song) in the same year. All of this was for her work in Harriet. Even with all of that, no wins...
Chris Rock jokingly said, but seriously meant, "Cynthia Erivo did such a good job hiding Black people in Harriet, The Academy got her to hide all the Black nominees.” While this was a great laugh, it provides context for a larger conversation about the inclusiveness of the Oscars.
Do better, Oscars! We do congratulate our winners, but we FOR SURE deserve more!!! We are a talented group of people.