THE BLOG

Data Analysis: How the Academy's Race Problem Is Getting Worse

15/01/2016 15:01 | Updated 14 January 2017

For the second year in a row, there are will be no black, Asian or minority ethnic actors that win an Oscar - because the 20-strong list of nominees in 2016 is entirely white.

It was revealed in Los Angeles yesterday that the major categories of leading male and female actors, supporting male and female actors, original and adapted screenwriters and directors, only provided a paltry single nomination for a non-white person: Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu (a three-time Oscar winner, who is clearly favoured by the Academy) for his high-budget epic The Revenant.

The 86th Academy Awards was heralded as a "game changing" moment at the Oscars, in that it saw 12 Years A Slave, an unwavering account of American slavery, win three awards including Best Picture. But ever since then, things have gone off a cliff - non-white nominations have dropped from 7 to 1, taking the percentage of white nominations to 97%.

None of the nominated Best Picture films in the major categories feature people of colour. Straight Outta Compton - starring swathes of young black talent - was nominated for Best Screenplay, but the script itself was notoriously written by two white people.

As the of host of 2015's ceremony, Neil Patrick Harris, summed it up: "Tonight we honor Hollywood's best and whitest. Sorry, brightest." It's likely that Chris Rock, the host of 2016's edition, will be one of the few people of colour to grace the stage.

Responding to the news, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said: "Of course I am disappointed. But this is not to take away the greatness (of the films nominated). This has been a great year in film, it really has across the board." Nonetheless, and #OscarsSoWhite has been trending on Twitter.

Since the Oscars began 87 years ago, only one woman of color has ever won the Academy Award for Best Actress (Halle Berry). Only one Hispanic screenwriter has been recognised and only two Asian directors have received an award. The field of supporting actors has proven to be the most fruitful for people of colour, who have won 17 of a possible 88 awards, compared to just three for screenwriters.

In a poll carried out by Reuters and Ipsos last year, thirty-four per cent of people have said they believe Hollywood has a general problem with minorities. Meanwhile, a 2012 report by the LA Times showed that 94% of academy members were white and 77% were male. That is compared with just 2% of voters who were black and Latino, and 1% native Americans.