Oscar Diversity Problem? "Not at All"

The Academy Awards are under fire for lacking diversity in nominations this year. Although "Selma," the film about Martin Luther King, was nominated for best picture, its director and lead actor were snubbed. Criticism looms partly because all 20 nominees for best actor and supporting actor are white. "Selma," a highly acclaimed film received only one other nomination: best song.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy's first black president, said, "Not at all. Not at all," when asked whether the organization had a "problem with recognizing diversity."  She also told Vulture

"Well, it's a terrific motion picture, and that we can never and should not take away from it, the fact that it is a terrific motion picture. There are a lot of terrific motion pictures, it's a very competitive time, and there's a lot of great work that has been done. I am very happy that Selma is included in our eight terrific motioncture [nominations]."

"The good news is that the wealth of talent is there, and it's being discussed, and it's helpful so much for talent-whether in front of the camera or behind the camera-to have this recognition, to have this period of time where there is a lot of publicity, a lot of chitter-chatter."

Isaacs also told Time, "I would love to see and look forward to see a greater cultural diversity among all our nominees in all of our categories."

An infographic and the Twitter hashtag #OscarsSoWhite give us more perspective on the controversy: 

Academy infographic

Discussion Starters: 

  • Do you agree with the criticism? 
  • Analyze Isaacs statements. What works well to convey the Academy's position, and what could be improved? 
  • Here's another graphic showing concern about the Academy's lack of diversity. Which do you find more effective in conveying the message?