By Rebecca Keegan, Los Angeles Times (TNS)
For the second year in a row, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has nominated an all-white group of acting nominees, passing over popular, well-reviewed performances in Creed and Straight Outta Compton and failing to nominate prominent actors of color in 2015 films, including Idris Elba, Samuel L. Jackson and Will Smith.
The homogeneous group of nominees comes as the academy is in the midst of a major push to diversify its membership, and after academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs in November announced a new initiative — A2020 — designed to promote inclusion within its staff.
When movies driven by black actors and directors were nominated this time around, it was for the work of their white colleagues. Despite Universal Pictures mounting a robust awards campaign for its summer blockbuster Straight Outta Compton, neither that film’s director, F. Gary Gray, nor any of its black lead actors was nominated, though the film’s two white screenwriters were.
Sylvester Stallone was nominated for supporting actor for his performance in Warner Bros.’ Creed, but the film’s black writer-director, Ryan Coogler, and black star, Michael B. Jordan, were not.
The academy also passed over Elba, whom critics had praised for his performance in Netflix’s Beasts of No Nation; Jackson, who had campaigned for Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight; and Smith, who fronts the movie Concussion.
Tangerine, an independent film whose transgender actresses of color, Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor, are nominated for Independent Spirit Awards, also failed to secure any nominations.
The academy’s failure to nominate a more diverse group of actors has been a sore spot for the institution’s public reputation. Last year, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite began trending on Twitter, and telecast host Neil Patrick Harris opened the show by saying, “Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest. Sorry, brightest.”
The 88th Oscars ceremony is set for Feb. 28.
©2016 Los Angeles Times. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.
Photo: Actor John Krasinski and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announce Best Actor at the announcement of the 88th Academy Awards nominations during a live news conference on Jan. 14, 2016 at the Academy’s Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)