2015 Academy Awards – Lack of Africans at the Oscars

Now that the 87th Academy Award Winners for the 2015 Oscar has been announced, celebrity gossip shows are gearing up for a next morning coverage of the event from the red carpet to the after party. Jokes will be made about Neil Patrick Harris underwear moment, Lady Gaga clean look performance, and people will mention the amazing performance of the Oscar-winning song "Glory" from Selma.

What a shocker: not even one African American actor/actress has been nominated for any of the four acting categories. Take it a little further: no Latino, Asian-American, or American-Indian actors have been nominated. It's 1998 flashback again. At least in 1998, the movie Titanic wrecked havoc by winning multiple awards with very little competitions. But we had SELMA this year, and David Oyelowo, who plays Martin Luther King Jr.in this great movie could have snatched at least an Oscar for Best Actor. All we have to say is that diversity was surely missing in this year's Oscars awards.

1941hattie
Hattie McDaniel

DID YOU KNOW?

Hattie McDaniel (June 10, 1895 – October 26, 1952) was the first African American to win an Academy Award as Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mammy in Gone with the Wind (1939).

Djimon Hounsou (born April 24, 1964) is the first black actor born in Africa (Benin) to receive an Academy Award nomination (2003, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, In America).

Lupita N'yongo (born March 1, 1983) is the first ever black African (Kenyan) actress to be an Oscar nominated (2013, Best Actress in a Supporting Role, 12 Years a Slave) and the first black African to win in any category (12 Years a Slave). She is also the second black actor to win for a debut performance.

 

GETTING AFRICANS INTO THE OSCARS

Africans still have a lot to do in order to win Hollywood. Although there is a positive trend now when it comes to Hollywood studios hiring actual Africans to play "African" roles, the issues still remain at the source: Hollywood producers are not picking up scripts with African heritage and characters. We can't have Africans at the Oscars if there aren't African-related movies being produced to begin with. So, don't blame it on the African actor and actress (at the very least, they do marvelous when they get a chance to play on any movie or Television series); they do have talents; but they're just lacking representation in the American media.

The primary solution will be to get American producers to fall in love with African-related scripts/stories/characters ideas. Africans need superheros, great villains, and beautiful princesses represented in Hollywood. The Hollywood writers and producers need to give our African children some characters that they can easily relate to, by the color of their skins, their culture, or accents.

Secondly, Hollywood studios need to encourage African producers and writers by showing at least a sense of collaboration and big-brother type of Mentor-ship. There are great stories being written by African writers, and Africa has yet to be discovered culturally by the West. Let's not limit African cultural heritage to Disney Animated movies; let's bring it to the big screen.

Now, Congratulations to the 2015 Oscars Winners cited below. We hope 2016 will have more diversity to portray the real America.

2015 Oscars Winners

Best Picture:  Birdman — Alejandro G. Inarritu, John Lesher and James W. Skotchdopole

Best Director: Alejandro González Iñárritu — Birdman

Best Actor: Eddie Redmayne — The Theory of Everything

Best Actress: Julianne Moore — Still Alice

Best Supporting Actor: J.K. Simmons — Whiplash

Best Supporting Actress: Patricia Arquette — Boyhood

Achievement in Costume Design: Milena Canonero — The Grand Budapest Hotel

Achievement in Makeup and Hairstyling: Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier — The Grand Budapest Hotel

Best Foreign Language Film: Ida – Pawel Pawlikowski

Best Live Action Short Film: The Phone Call — Matt Kirkby and James Lucas

Best Documentary Short Subject: Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1 — Ellen Goosenberg Kent and Dana Perry

Original Screenplay: Birdman – Alejandro G. Iñárritu, Nicolás Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris, Jr. and Armando Bo

Achievement in Sound Mixing: Whiplash — Craig Mann, Ben Wilkins, Thomas Curley

Achievement in Sound Editing: American Sniper — Alan Robert Murray Bub Asman

Achievement in Visual Effects: Interstellar — Ian Hunter, Scott Fisher, Andrew Lockley and Paul Franklin

Best Animated Short: Feast — Patrick Osborne and Kristina Reed

Best Animated Movie: Big Hero Six — Don Hall, Chris Williams and Roy Conli

Achievement in Production Design: The Grand Budapest Hotel — Adam Stockhausen and Anna Pinnock

Achievement in Cinematography: Birdman — Emannuel Lubezki

Achievement in Film Editing: Whipalsh — Tom Cross

Best Documentary Feature: Citizen Four — Laura Poitras, Mathilde Bonnefoy and Dirk Wilutzky

Best Original Song: Glory — John Stephens and Lonnie Lynn

Best Original Score: The Grand Budapest Hotel — Alexandre Desplat

Best Adapted Screenplay: The Imitation Game – Graham Moore