Racial Minorities in the Media

This year just like every year the Academy Awards were held also known as The Oscars. The Academy Awards, or “Oscars”, is an American award ceremony held annually to recognize excellence in cinematic achievements in the United States film industry. The Oscars are considered the most prestigious award ceremony in the media industry. It is also one of them most televised event with nearly 37 million people watching last year’s Oscars, and that’s just in US.

This year there seem to have been a lot of controversy involving the Oscar nominations. Specifically the nominations for the acting and supporting acting categories. As shown below are tweets from Jada Smith regarding her viewpoint on the Oscars:


An interview Will Smith speaks out about what his thought are on the matter:


Here are the pictures of the people who were nominated this year and last year at the Oscars:


2016 Oscar Nominations


2015 Oscar Nominations

As you can clearly see for yourselves there doesn’t seem to be any racial diversity amongst the nominations at all. My question now is well why? Why are there no people who come from different ethnicities nominated in any of the acting roles? Is it because there was no good performances that came from any of them?

In my findings I have found that the most notable performances I have found that didn’t receive nominations were Idris Alba from the film Beast of No Nation, Will Smith from The Concussion, Jason Mitchell from Straight Outta Compton and Benicio del Toro from Sicario. So it seems that out of all the performances from people with different ethnic backgrounds, only a handful of performances were considered Oscar worthy for a nomination. And from a personal standpoint I only think Jason Mitchell deserved a nod from the Academy Awards.

Another interesting fact is that in the best film Category 8 films were nominated this year. In all of the 8 films all of the actors and actresses in any significant role were “white”.

Click here for the full list of the 2016 Oscar Nominations and Winners


In the end what I have found is that in all the other categories e.g. best director, cinematography, short films etc there was a lot of diversity among the respected nominations. It was only the acting and best picture category that lacked diversity. I don’t think the Oscars are racist; I think there just wasn’t that many standout performances that came from any racial minority group. But that right there I think is our issue at hand. It’s not that the Oscars are being racist and intentionally only nominating people who have come from a “white” background. It’s the fact that there just aren’t many actors and actresses from different racial minority groups who are being cast in films that are considered worthy for the Oscar’s to look at. Overall I think that racial minorities need to be better represented in the media; in terms of actually being cast in bigger roles with films that are actually going to get nominated for an Oscar.

Here is a sketch from SNL on the Oscars:

By Krishneel Singh and Laith Al-Kindi



Academy Awards. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Academy_Awards

Emanuel Levy. (2012) Oscar 2011. Retrieved from http://emanuellevy.com/comment/oscar-2011-why-the-oscar-is-the-most-important-award-part-one/

Christopher John Farley. (2016). Black Actors and Directors Shut Out of 2016 Oscar Race. Retrieved from http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2016/01/14/black-actors-and-directors-shut-out-of-2016-oscar-race/

Ramin Setoodeh. (2016). Oscar Nominations. Retrieved from http://variety.com/2016/film/news/oscar-nominations-2016-snubs-surprises-1201679981/


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