Oscar’s Boycott 2016

White Washing


Destiny Vasquez, Cactus Contributor

The Oscars is an award ceremony to honor the many great artists that grace the silver screen with their brilliance. This prestigious ceremony has been the center of controversy for the past month. After the Academy Award nominees were presented to the public on January 14th the lineup was, as the trending hashtag states, #OscarsSoWhite. Everyone who was nominated for an Oscar this year was white.

This isn’t the only year in which African Americans were excluded from receiving an Oscar. Last year, movies like Selma, a film about Martin Luther King Jr. and the fight that took place in Selma, was not recognized, and this year it was no different when it came to African American nominations. In the movie Creed, a film written by an African American man and starring Michael B. Jordan, an African American actor, had only one actor nominated for the award and it was Sylvester Stallone, who is a white man. Some other notable movies released this year, such as Beast of No Nation, a film that tells the story of a child soldier in the African Civil War, and Spike Lee’s film, Chi Raq, had no African American actors/actresses nominated.

For two years, not one African American actor or actress has been nominated for an Oscar; is this a coincidence? A lot of the industry’s finest think it is intentional, which has incited a lot of debate, and driven some actors and actresses to boycott the event as a way to take a stand against the unfair treatment of African American people in the movie industry. Among those boycotting the Oscars are Jada Pinkett Smith and Will Smith, who starred in the film Concussion, which did not receive any nominations for the African American actors and actresses playing in it.

In some ways, the boycott lends a hand to the movement #BlackLivesMatter, which seeks justice and recognition for the killings of Black people by the police and others who want to take the law into their own hands; become judge, jury, and executioner. #BlackLivesMatter wants to ignite a Black Liberation movement so that all voices can be heard and justice can be served. Boycotting the Oscars also brings to light the unfair treatment of African American artists who are not being recognized by the Academy or the film industry in general.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is whether we have people who are for or against the boycott for their own reasons, or in the pursuit of equality. Most actors and actresses believe that something is wrong with our country when it comes to equality for minorities. There is an unfair system that exists in our country, and the only way to get people to think about the issue and talk about it, is to do something.