I’m sure by now you have all seen the ‘Oscars So White’ hashtag on social media and may have even chosen a side.

Yes, the nominees are mostly white, but everybody who was nominated for an Oscar has worked incredibly hard for it and are deserving of their nomination, as well as a possible award.

People see the nominations and automatically attack the Academy for nominating ‘only white people’. But why is the Academy taking the blame for this problem?

Let’s take Straight Outta Compton as an example. It was a great film, but was it Oscar-worthy? In my opinion, it wasn’t.

And may I remind you it was released in August, when the majority of films that bring home the golden man are released between October and January. It’s the films released before the Awards that stick in the memory of the judges.

Alejandro G. Iñárritu is also a perfect example of how other cultures and nationalities are represented at the Oscars. Just because he isn’t black, that does not make him ‘white’. People seem to forget that the world isn’t just black and white. Alejandro G. Iñárritu is from Mexico, he is Latino, not white.

People are also arguing that 75% of the Academy is white men and throwing around un-researched percentages about how many white people are in charge of who wins an Oscar.

However, what a lot of these people don’t know is that the President of the Academy is, in fact, an African-American woman named Cheryl Boone Isaacs.

The problem is not that the Academy chose white people over black people for the awards, because apart from Michael B. Jordan in Creed, there were no other black people who could have been nominated for an Oscar.

Realistically when it comes to the nominations, there are rarely ever any upsets or surprises from the Academy.

My point is, we can’t blame the Academy for not nominating black people for awards, when there aren’t any black people to choose from.

It is Hollywood that is the problem. They only choose black actors over white actors when it has something to do with slave labour or the 1960s, or if you’re Will Smith or Morgan Freeman.

White men get to play the part of ‘the best friend’, ‘the love interest’, ‘the neighbour’ and even ‘the teacher’, whereas black actors only get to play ‘the black man’.

The problem isn’t with the Academy; it’s with Hollywood: the Academy can’t give awards to parts that aren’t there.


Cliona Nic Dhomhnaill