Annual Oscar nominees exhibit low diversity

Amy Reinhardt

A new trending hashtag relating to the upcoming Academy Awards has reappeared and become visibly popular on Twitter as well as other social media outlets within the past week.

The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite was originated by April Reign, managing editor of, in 2015 after an all-white list of Oscar nominees was selected by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Reign’s goal for the hashtag was to spread the word about the lack of minority nominees.

Due to its presence on social media, #OscarsSoWhite has quickly gained attention and sparked opinions from the younger generations.

“The hashtag is good because it lets everyone know about the issue, but it could be bad because it emphasizes the lack of diversity by making it into a bigger issue than it needs to be,” said Rachel Suarez, undeclared freshman.

While some have a more passive view of the issue like Suarez, others, like Emma Showalter, freshman biology major, hold a more passionate viewpoint.

“The hashtag is very negative and almost a little racist, in my opinion,” Showalter said. “It puts the blame on only one racial group and is not a peaceful way to go about fixing the issue.”

This overall issue of diversity and #OscarsSoWhite has caused members of the Academy, those who voted on and selected the nominees, to be subjected to scrutiny, ridicule and being labeled racist.

Several members of the Academy publically defended their decision by stating that there were more films comprising white actors than black actors in the past couple years, which is a problem that needs to be addressed by the studios thatcreate films, not the Academy.

“It makes sense with how many white people are nominated because the movie industry is so dominated by whites,” Suarez elaborated. “However, I don’t think the movie industry should be that dominated.”

On Jan. 12, the pattern continued with 20 new white film stars being selected for the 2016 Academy Awards. Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy, issued a promise of conducting a review of membership recruitment in hopes of eliminating this pattern in future years.

This two-year pattern has sparked the voices and actions of several celebrities including Jada Pinkett-Smith, Will Smith and director Spike Lee who have each announced that they’ll be boycotting this year’s Oscars event.

Reign has continued her efforts in encouraging others to follow the Smiths’ and Lee’s example in boycotting the event, or simply refusing to watch the show on Feb. 28. There have also been recent requests from the public for this year’s host Chris Rock, a black comedian and actor, to step down in protest.

“If we want to be equal, we need to quit recognizing that there’s any differences between us because there aren’t any differences between all of us,” Showalter said. “We are all equal.”