It’s not as though there weren’t plenty of options to mix up this year’s lineup of Oscar nominees. A quick glance over the list of artists and performers excluded from the 2016 Academy Awards nods confirms that once again, academy voters earned those widespread racial bias critiques and #OscarsSoWhite hashtags coming their way. Most important, though, is how they plainly missed the opportunity to give several vibrant talents their due.

Let’s review. Absent from the 2016 nominees announced Thursday morning were the likes of Idris Elba, whose blistering turn as African warlord commandant in “Beasts of No Nation” drew nearly unanimous praise and accolades from the same cinematic circles that feed into the academy’s trophy-baiting machinery. Also absent from the nominees’ club was “Beasts” director, producer and writer, Cary Fukunaga.

Then there’s “Creed” star Michael B. Jordan, who bulked up and trained—as Robert De Niro (“Raging Bull”), Sylvester Stallone (“Rocky”), Hilary Swank (“Million Dollar Baby”) had done to land their own statuettes—for a knockout lead performance with Stallone as his celebrated mentor. But again, the academy weighed in on Jordan’s showing by way of a glaring omission. Meanwhile, Stallone was nominated for Best Supporting Actor, while “Creed” director Ryan Coogler didn’t make the cut in his category.

Director F. Gary Gray’s ode to N.W.A., “Straight Outta Compton,” a biopic about genre-defining musical legends, also drew from material Oscar voters tend to favor (see: “Walk the Line,” “Coal Miner’s Daughter,” “La Vie En Rose,” “Ray”), but didn’t resonate among balloters beyond one nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

When even People magazine comments on the Oscars’ stubborn race issues, things are definitely dire. As the consumer mainstay noted, “no actors of color were tapped in the individual acting categories—the second year in a row.”

Also on Thursday, The New York Times offered further insights on the theme that loomed large following the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ (AMPAS) big announcement:

Will Smith, a possible best actor nominee for “Concussion,” was not included either.

In all the lead categories — best director, picture, and all four acting categories — only Alejandro G. Iñárritu, the Mexican auteur who won best director and picture last year, for “Birdman,” adds a note of diversity. This year he was nominated for “The Revenant.”

[…] The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which doles out the Oscars and has long been a bastion of older white men, has been trying to diversify its ranks as Hollywood faces increasing criticism about its hiring practices, which in turn affects the stories it tells. In November, accepting an honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards, Spike Lee excoriated the industry, saying, in his acceptance speech, that it was “easier to be president of the United States as a black man than be the head of a studio.”

As Variety’s Ramin Setoodeh pointed out, making these absences all the more glaring and ironic will be the presence of this year’s Oscars host, Chris Rock. (Hint: He’s there to run the show and crack jokes, not to act as the academy’s de facto diversity ambassador.) Meanwhile, the heightened push for racial justice continues in sites around the country other than, but definitely not excluding, Hollywood.

And since Hollywood is, among many other things, a grand-scale manufacturer of representations of all kinds, the choices made by major players, in front of and behind the cameras, tell their own story. When it comes to racial representation, as well as that of gender, sexuality, class and other markers, by the Los Angeles Times‘ recent estimation, AMPAS still has a long way to go—starting with the makeup of its members.

So yet again, the academy has offered its 2016 Oscar emcee another crop of tired jokes he undoubtedly isn’t very eager to work into his routine.

Read the latest from the #OscarsSoWhite Twitter feed here: !function(d,s,id){var js,fjs=d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0],p=/^http:/.test(d.location)?’http’:’https’;if(!d.getElementById(id)){js=d.createElement(s);;js.src=p+”://”;fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js,fjs);}}(document,”script”,”twitter-wjs”);


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