It took the Academy Awards, or the Oscars, 11 years after inception to present the award for best lead and/or supporting actor or actress to a person of colour.
Seven decades later, diversity is still a major issue as so clearly demonstrated by the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag.
For the last two years, the hashtag has surfaced shortly after the announcement of the annual Oscars, which have on both occasions featured an all-white line up of nominees in the popular acting categories.
— Affinity Magazine (@TheAffinityMag) January 16, 2016
— cookie monster (@StaleysGirl) January 16, 2016
If you think the uproar and planned boycotts are a bit much, perhaps the video below, which depicts how many black men and women have won an Oscar for acting, will paint a clearer picture of exactly how big the problem is.
People of colour (this includes Asians and Latinos) have made up only 6.7% of acting nominations of the total 1 668 since 1929. In total, only 15 black actors have ever won an acting Oscar.
Hattie McDaniel was the first black person and woman to win an Oscar in 1939. Halle Berry is the only black woman to win the Oscar for best actress in the Academy Awards’ history. The last supporting actress trophy awarded to a black woman was Lupita Nyong’o in 2013.
Sidney Poitier was the first black man to win an acting award (lead actor) in 1963 and no black man has won the Best Actor Oscar since 2004 (Jamie Foxx). The last black actor to be awarded for a supporting role was Morgan Freeman in 2004.
Only one black actor, Denzel Washington, has ever won two Oscars.
The Academy’s response to the situation was that it would be changing things to have a more diverse membership by 2020, which will hopefully also diversify its nominee line up.[Video and image – ScreenCrush]