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The lack of diversity among this year’s cast of Oscar nominations is a huge blot on the Academy’s reputation. In fact, it’s even threatened to overshadow the ceremony itself. One congressman is so incensed by the lack of recognition to ethnic directors, writers and actors that he has insisted on meeting with the Academy president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, to discuss the situation.
According to Variety, California’s Rep. Tony Cardenas is the man who has taken it upon himself to try and get the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to see the error of their ways. Rep. Cardenas has written a letter to Cheryl Boone Isaacs, which he has also handily provided to the media too. Cardenas passionately insists in his message that "while the issue of diversity in the entertainment industry is a much deeper problem, without an easy solution, it is unfortunate to see such a revered American institution fail to fully reflect our nation."
He didn’t stop there. Rep. Cardenas went on to explain that he is raising this subject because he represents a "district with one of the greatest amounts of spending on film industry vendors." He made it known to Cheryl Boone Isaacs that the movie industry is an integral source of revenue for his local economy; while he also declared that he wants to work alongside the Academy and its membership to "improve diversity in the entertainment industry." He is more than aware that this won’t be achieved overnight, and he insisted that he is vastly committed to working alongside the Academy to "make sure the industry is more reflective of the rich diversity of the city it calls home."
I think that Rep. Tony Cardenas of California deserves a standing ovation for trying to truly alter the Academy’s almost prehistoric nominations. Are you standing and clapping? Because I certainly am! Now my neighbors are looking, so I’ll stop. The Academy has yet to offer a response to the letter, which he sent to the heads of Academy branches as well as the studio chiefs.
Has Tony Cardenas overreacted to the lack of diversity in the Academy’s 2015 nominations? Absolutely not. That’s because, for the first time since 1995, all 20 nominees in the Oscars’ acting categories are white. It's a frankly preposterous state of affairs, which is made even more embarrassing by the fact that Cheryl Boone Isaacs previously tried to hide behind the fact that 12 Years A Slave swept up at the ceremony last year.
It was a huge oversight from the Academy not to truly recognize Selma in their nominations. It only received two: one for Best Picture and another for Best Original Song. For some inexplicable reason, David Oyelowo’s majestic portrayal of Martin Luther King Jr. was overlooked, which is frankly inexcusable when you see that Steve Carell’s mundane Foxcatcher and Bradley Cooper’s adequate American Sniper performances were rewarded. And that’s before we even mention the fact that Ava DuVernay and Paul Webb were overlooked in the Best Director and Original Screenplay categories as well.
All of this is just getting me down. Fingers crossed that Rep. Tony Cardenas can make great strides in his attempts to show the Academy the error of their ways.