Annual award ceremony snubbing films

Racism, sexism allegations blemish reputation of Oscars


Christopher Remington, Staff Writer

While the Academy Awards ceremony is a great night to see top filmmakers and actors win recognition for their work, it’s also an opportunity for film buffs to point out who is not getting the recognition they deserve.

Winning an Oscar award is commonly seen as a prestigious achievement for a filmmaker. But sometimes seeing who doesn’t win the award can be just as interesting and controversial.

Much of the attention will be placed on which film will receive the Oscar award for Best Picture. The rules for the Academy Awards allow for up to 10 films to be nominated for Best Picture, but the voting results of the academy members only produced eight nominees. For example, one film that received critical acclaim, but was left off the nomination list was Foxcatcher, which had two actors nominated for Oscars as well as the director and screenwriters.

With a year full of beautiful films with spectacular visuals and mesmerizing performances from high budget and indie films, it is definitely a promising year for the filmmaking industry. With films ranging from Boyhood, the 12 year-in-the-making indie epic, to Selma, which focuses on the struggles of the individuals who lead the civil rights movement. There are many films deserving of taking the top honor at the Oscars this year.

Perhaps the most controversial category is the Best Actor category. Nominations were given to big name actors such as  Bradley Cooper for American Sniper, Michael Keaton for Birdman, and even Steve Carell for Foxcatcher. However, the controversy surrounds the absence  of David Oyelowo, the actor who portrayed Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma.

With accusations sparking all over the media pointing to racism as the cause of the star’s snub, it’s created a chain reaction within the entire film industry as well as the common observer’s opinions on the matter. Media outlets and Twitter posts have jumped back and forth about who’s to really blame for the snub. A headline from a post on The Vox reads, “Selma was snubbed because the average Oscar voter is a 63-year-old white man.”

Although the racism controversy is drawing attention, accusations of sexism have emerged alongside the Selma film. The nominees for Best Director are all male:  Richard Linklater, Wes Anderson, and Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Again, the absence of Selma director Ava DuVernay from the list of nominees has drawn criticism. News headlines, Twitter posts, personal response videos by women’s rights activists claim the Academy focuses more on male filmmakers.

A recent poll about the Academy board revealed around 94 percent are caucasian, 77 percent are male, and only 2 percent are African American. A headline from CNN stated, “Selma director snubbed because she’s not a safe black woman.” Some argue that a foundation like the Academy Awards, whose founders were all white, are unable to accept change. With the first female win in 1976, only 4 women have been nominated for Best Director.

Putting all the controversy over racism and sexism aside, the awards this year are looking just as exciting as ever. There could still be lots of surprises on Oscar night and maybe even a few changes to the Academy’s voting system regarding the mass complaints.

To view the nights winners for all categories, visit