Despite pushback in years past, the nominations for the 92nd Academy Awards are yet again very white, with Cynthia Erivo being the only person of color nominated in the four acting categories. Actors like Awkwafina (The Farewell), Eddie Murphy (Dolemite Is My Name), Jennifer Lopez (Hustlers) and Lupita Nyong'o (Us) were snubbed from key races, despite key awards season nominations and wins leading up to this year’s ceremony.
#OscarsSoWhite started trending on Twitter shortly after the announcement, as people called out the Academy for its lack of diversity among the nominees. "Only nominating one actor of color is still... #OscarsSoWhite," Vulture's E. Alex Jung wrote, while writer and editor Mathew Rodriguez pointed out that there were "a plethora of chances to reward so many amazing performances from Black, Latinx and Asian actors this year."
Of note, Asian actors were still overlooked by Academy voters, despite the potential for a major leap forward in representation. (And in the same year Parasite made history, no less.) In addition to Awkwafina, her Farewell co-star Zhao Shuzhen and Parasite's Song Kang-ho were blanked in their respective fields.
This year's nominations come after several years of some expanded representation, with actors Mahershala Ali and Regina King winning the supporting categories in 2019 and the likes of Daniel Kaluuya, Denzel Washington, Mary J. Blige and Octavia Spencer earning nominations in 2018. In 2017, after back-to-back years of the Academy failing to recognize any performers of color, Dev Patel, Naomie Harris, Ruth Negga, Spencer and Washington were all nominated, while Ali and Viola Davis took home the supporting Oscars.
The lack of diversity at the 2020 Oscars also comes after the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced four years ago that they would make "historic" changes to increase diversity, with the goal to double the number of women and "diverse members" by 2020. Now, despite changes made to the voting bodies of the Academy, the Oscars have found themselves in hot water,
The Oscar nominations arrive one week after nominations for the 2020 EE British Academy Film Awards, which failed to include any person of color among its acting nominees. Instead, BAFTA nominated Margot Robbie and Scarlett Johansson twice, with Robbie up against herself for Supporting Actress and Johansson competing in the Lead Actress and Supporting Actress categories.
The Oscars similarly nominated Johansson twice, for Best Actress for her role in Marriage Story and Best Supporting Actress for Jojo Rabbit.
In response to their #SoWhite nominations, Amanda Berry, Chief Executive of the British Academy of Film and Television Arts, promised to "create [an] opportunity" for diversity in front of and behind the camera. "We've done schemes in the past for female directors. We've decided, looking at the nominations today, we're going to do that again," she said. How the Academy will further address the issue is to be seen.
This year's Oscars will air live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California, on ABC on Sunday, Feb. 9 at 8:00 p.m. ET / 5:00 p.m. PT.