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The 88th Academy Awards Nominations

by Lea Michelle Cash/Celebrity Showcase/Published 1/20/2016

     It is 5:00 a.m. and media from 400 outlets around the world have just finished a delicious and networking breakfast with their peers.  The excitement and anxiety is high in the room before filing into the legendary state of the art, Samuel Goldwyn Theater located in Beverly Hills.   

It is 5:30 a.m., a hush silences the numerous voices as Mexican filmmaker, Guillermo Del Toro and Asian director, Ang Lee, take center stage beginning to announce the nominees in 11 categories.  They are shortly followed at 5:38 a.m. by Academy President, Cheryl Boone Isaacs and actor, John Krasinski who announce the remaining 13 nominees in their categories.  Within an ½ hour time the world now knows who received Oscars nods.  People of color were not happy.  

The Oscar nominees are selected in 24 categories by Academic members who have casted their votes from each of the 17 Academy branches. These seventeen branches are Actors, Casting Directors, Cinematographers, Costume Designers, Designers, Documentary, Directors, Executives, Film editors, Makeup Artist and Hair Styles, Music, Producers, Public Relations, Short film and Feature Animation, Sound, Visual effects and Writers. 

Membership reviews take place once a year, in the Spring of that year. There are nearly 6,000 voting Academy members.  In the Animated Feature Film and Foreign Language Film categories, nominees are selected by vote of multi-branch screening committees.  All voting members are eligible to select the Best Picture nominees.

Immediately after the nomination announcements, snapped judgments, and disappointment clouded the social media airways, tagging the 88th Oscars as a blackout, and white only affair #Oscarsowhite.   Dialogue once again became the topic of the day regarding noted African Americans whose performances were not honored as nominees this year.   This year, only a few caliber films focused on black stories, like “Straight Outta Compton” or “Beasts of No Nation”, or featured black actors in prominent roles like Will Smith in “Concussion”, Michael B. Jordan in “Creed”, Idris Elba in “Beasts of No Nation” and Samuel L. Jackson in “The Hateful Eight”.

The Academy President, Isaac stated, “The Academy has made a concerted effort to diversify its own membership, inviting 322 new members this past July that included Selma star David Oyelowo, British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who appears in Concussion, and Compton director

F. Gary Gray.”  She continues, “I also announced a new initiative called A2020 to further diversify the Academy itself and also encourage the industry to open up more opportunities for women and minorities. We have got to speed it up.” 

 Along with David Hill, the film director Reginald Hudlin will be executive producing the 88th Academy Awards.  Reggie was nominated for producer of DJango Unchain, and last year he produced the Academy’s Governors Awards and he has executive produced the NAACP Image Awards.  Hudlin voiced his opinion by stating, “I thought there was an extraordinary amount of Oscar-worthy work by black artists and they all got overlooked. That’s a lot, so it’s very disappointing.  But that doesn’t change the fact that those movies are there, and are great, because audiences love them and they were some of the biggest box-office makers of the year.”

Although there was a lack of diversity and disappointment in the air, there was joy and congratulations to fans favorites like Sylvester Stallone, who was nominated in the Best Performing Supporting Actor Role for “Creed” and for Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Performing Actor in a Leading role in “Revenant” which appealed to fans of all races. 

 In a recent press interview Isaac further said, “I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees. While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes. The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership. In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.”

The 88th Oscars, hosted by actor, comedian Chris Rock will be held on Sunday, February 28, 2016 at Hollywood and Highland Center in Hollywood, and will be televised live by ABC television network at 7 p.m.


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