Inclusivity at the Oscars



The Oscars is the most prestigious award presented to some of the best filmmakers and actors.

Jerry Hu, Staff Writer

Since 1927, winning the Oscars has been the most prestigious award in the filmmaking industry. The Academy Awards, commonly known as the Oscars, is a world-renowned event that celebrates the production of filmmaking each year.  However, in recent years, the Academy has faced criticism for the lack of diversity among Oscar recipients. In 2015, the #OscarSoWhite was trending across social media platforms, referring to the Academy’s preferential treatment towards Western media and predominantly white actors, directors and filmmakers. Despite the rising diversity in Hollywood, ethnic representation has only slightly improved over the decades.

In its early years, the Academy Awards favored white actors and filmmakers. It wasn’t until 1939 that an African American actor won an award for Best Supporting Actress. In 2015, the award show received backlash for awarding Oscars primarily to white males. Moviegoers across social media were unhappy with the choices available and demanded that nominees be better representatives of diverse ethnicities and women.

Since then, the Academy has made many major changes increasing the number of women and people of color. By 2016, the Academy had taken in new members including Asians and African Americans into their judging committee. New rules were established as well, requiring that films meet certain diversity standards to be considered for the Best Picture award. This included having at least one lead or significant supporting actor from an underrepresented racial and ethnic group and having at least 30% of the cast include minorities.

In 2021, the efforts to implement changes paid off as more women and people of color got their chance to shine as nominees for the Oscars. Despite these accomplishments, there is still room for improvement regarding being more inclusive toward all people. The criticism finally led to steps of action initiated by the Academy.

The Oscars have faced a multitude of criticism ever since their first establishment. With the specific eligibility and criteria implementation, the diversity ratio has been greater than ever. Although there is room for improvement, the Academy Awards has come a long way in terms of its inclusiveness.

The continued growth of inclusivity at the Oscars has never been more evident in this year’s winners. “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” one of last year’s biggest movies, raked in seven Oscars, including Best Picture. The all-Asian cast was also co-directed by Chinese-American Daniel Kwan. However, the work is far from over. Many still criticized the Oscars for awarding Jamie Lee Curtis Best Supporting Actress, who had a smaller role in “Everything Everywhere All at Once,” over those like Stephanie Hsu or Angela Bassett.