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How white is Oscar?

Since 2000, there have been 72 actors and actresses who won Academy Awards. 60 are white.

Only 12 are people of color. According to a research by the University of Southern California in 2016, 26.7 percent of characters with dialogue were from nonwhite racial/ethnic groups in the film industry, though such groups are nearly 40 percent of the US population.

Source: Media, Diversity, & Social Change Initiative

In 2016, when the Oscar nominees were announced, only white actors and actresses were among the chosen few in the top four categories for the second year in a row. It spawned the resurgence of the social media hashtag #OscarsSoWhite and a bevy of concerns about diversity in Hollywood.

In 2017, two black people won awards.

This year, four nonwhite actors and actresses are recognized: Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out,” Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”, Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound,” and Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”.

From left to right: Daniel Kaluuya, Denzel Washington, Mary J. Blige, Octavia Spencer.

However, in the Best Actress category, all nominees are white this year. For another year, Halle Berry will still be the only woman of color who has won Best Leading Actress since 1928.

Halle Berry in the movie “Monster’s Ball”.

Britni Danielle, a writer, tweeted, “The lack of diversity in the Best Actress category is indicative of a systemic problem. If Women of Color aren’t cast in leading roles, they will not be nominated for them. It’s not a matter of talent, it’s a matter of opportunity.”

Will Smith, a two-time Oscar nominee who declined to attend the 2016 Academy Awards ceremony, once said, “The nominations reflect the Academy. The Academy reflects the industry [Hollywood] and then the industry reflects America. There is a regressive slide towards separatism, towards racial and religious disharmony, and that’s not the Hollywood that I want to leave behind.”


Yan Wu


Yan Wu