Oscars 2016: Academy slammed for all-white actor nominees

- For the second year in a row, Oscar nominations went exclusively to white actors and actresses Thursday, raising more questions about the lack of diversity in the awards show and in Hollywood in general.

"The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made many promises last year to promote diversity in its film awards. It kept none of them,'' said Earl Ofari Hutchinson, president of the Urban Policy Roundtable. "The proof is that despite a number of name, qualified black performers in major films, not one was nominated for an Academy Award.''

Most notably absent from the Oscar nominations was "Straight Outta Compton,'' the story about the rise of the rap group NWA. Some pundits projected the film as a possible best picture nominee. The film earned only a
screenwriting nod for Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff -- both of whom are white.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, asked people to be patient as efforts continue to bolster diversity in the industry.

With some small exceptions, the nominations for acting Oscars are largely the same as those for the Screen Actors Guild Awards, which are usually a strong indicator of winners on Oscar night.

SAG, however, nominated black actor Idris Elba for his supporting role in "Beasts of No Nation,'' which was also nominated for outstanding ensemble cast. SAG also gave an ensemble nomination to "Straight Outta Compton.''

The Golden Globe Award acting nominations this year were also mostly white, with Elba and Will Smith, who was nominated for best actor in a drama for "Concussion,'' the only black nominees.

The announcement of the all-white Oscar nominees set off a torrent of discussion on social media, with the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite quickly gaining traction.

Hutchinson said he is calling for a nationwide "TV Tune Out'' of the Oscar ceremony on Feb. 28.

"This will send the message that diversity in the film industry must be more than a hollow promise,'' he said.

The last black performer to win an Oscar was in 2014, when Lupita Nyong'o was named best supporting actress for "12 Years a Slave,'' which was also named best picture.

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