LA Activists Upset Over Lack of Diversity in Oscars Nominations - NBC Southern California

Complete coverage of the 85th annual Academy Awards

LA Activists Upset Over Lack of Diversity in Oscars Nominations

Group calls for a nationwide "tune out" of the awards ceremony on Feb. 28.



    Concerns Raised Over Lack of Diversity in Oscars Nods

    Last year's social media hashtag was #OscarsSoWhite and now has a sequel, #OscarsStillSoWhite. No minorities were among the 20 actors nominated today for Academy Awards. Beverly White reports for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016. (Published Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016)

    Although Thursday's Academy Awards nominations were met with fanfare and excitement, it rubbed some activists the wrong way and fueled allegations on social media of the ceremony snubbing black actors.

    About 20 actors were nominated for this year's Academy Awards. None of them were black -- a point of contention for activists such as Earl Ofari Hutchinson of the Urban Policy Roundtable.

    "They especially said in The Academy, they'd broaden those who vote on the Oscar nominees. Well, now, one year later, it's even worse than last year. It's even whiter than last year," Hutchinson argued.

    A coalition of black activists has called the nominations' alleged lack of racial diversity unacceptable and rallied the academy for change. The activists are also encouraging minorities to not watch the ceremony on Feb. 28, pushing for a national "tune out" of the annual show.

    The controversy has caught the attention of the Los Angeles Times. On Friday, the front page will reportedly ask "Where's The Diversity?" in response to complaints about minorities not being included in this year's nominations.

    The alleged omission of diversity also spurred the return of last year's #OscarsSoWhite hashtag on Twitter. The hashtag now takes form in the shape of "#OscarsStillSoWhite and prompted a debate about race in the entertainment industry.

    Among the films with leading or predominately African-American actors whom activists say were passed over by the Academy were "Straight Outta Compton," "Creed," "Beasts of No Nation," and "Concussion."

    Critics, by and large, considered "Straight Outta Compton" and "Creed" box office successes. According to Box Office Mojo, as of Jan. 14, the films raked in more than $161 million and $106 million in the U.S., respectively.

    "The fact that they weren't nominated is just a slap in the face to the black community," said Najee Ali of the National Action Network.

    About 94 percent of Academy Award voters are white.

    AMPAS President Cheryl Boone Isaacs was aware of the diversity concerns and urged patience.

    "Stick with us. We're still working very hard and we'll continue to work hard ... to bring in more inclusion, into the Academy, into Hollywood," she said

    Hutchinson said he and other activists are done with "broken promises."

    "We're calling for a nationwide tune-out of the Academy Awards ceremony ... Don't watch it," he said.

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