According to a Los Angeles Times article this past Sunday, this year’s possible Oscar® nominees in the acting category is looking like a repeat of last year’s #OscarsSoWhite, with Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) being touted as the only actor of color likely to be nominated.
Although several “Oscar Contender” lists include Oscar Isaacs for his performance in Ex Machina in the supporting actor category, it is not looking like he will be among the nominees this year. Isaacs who is ranked #6 in IMDB’s StarMeter, did snag an Oscar nomination for his head turning work in Inside Llewyn Davis in 2013. Oscar® winner Benicio Del Toro (Traffic) is another named being tossed around on Variety’s Oscar Contender list for Best Supporting Actor for his work on Sicario. Again he is not expected to be there in the end.
As for Latina women, other than any foreign films roles that might be nominated, there doesn’t seem to have been any roles in 2015 that would have shown off their talents to even merit being listed on a contender list.
Todd Boyd, a professor of critical studies at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts, when asked about the lack of diversity at the Oscars® said to the L.A. Times, “There can’t be many nominees [of color] until people are given the opportunity in prominent, meaningful roles,” he told the L.A. Times.
Of course we will have to wait until January 14, 2016 when the Oscar® nominations are announced to know definitively if this will be #OscarsSoWhite. However, this is becoming an much talked about issue even within the AMPAS voting membership. Speaking to the L.A. Times anonymously one member commented “I don’t see how you can nominate another group [for 2016] that doesn’t include any actor of color and think you’ll be taken seriously.”
With the Oscars® being the world’s most-watched annual events, reflecting a diverse world would be fair. Yes, it is true that the opportunity for significant roles for people of color are few in between, but when they are there and the talent delivers and they are still overlooked, it seems the disconnect comes down to who is on the voting panel?