For Discussion: Why This Year Will Be “The Whitest Oscars” In A While

- By Bossip Staff

The 83rd annual Academy Awards nominations are in and of course there were a lot of snubs, heartbreak and questionable nods but there was also what some critics believed to be a fundamental “breakdown when it comes to honoring black actors.” The Hollywood Reporter’s Film Editor Gregg Kilday, who wrote the article “Whitest Oscar in Ten Years” back in September agrees, that “this year there wasn’t a real small, serious-themed movie about African American subjects that the Academy could turn to for nominations.”

Movieline’s S.T. VanAirsdale, however, lays some of the blame directly on the Academy. In an interview with Popeater’s Jo Piazza he says the voting members were “a historically lazy group of viewers who aren’t going to discover or nominate anything independently.” Just last year, many black actors and producers represented in films like The Blind Side, Precious and Invictus. The Best Actress nominees included Gabourey Sidibe and winner Mo’Nique. It was also the same year that Geoffrey Fletcher became the first black winner of a Best Screenplay Oscar. The years before that usually had at least one black actor or actress nominated from Taraji P. Henson and Viola Davis in 2008, Ruby Dee in 2007, Will Smith and Forest Whitaker in 2006, Terence Howard in 2005, and so on.

So what exactly happened this year?

Some claim it was a lack of “films that take a serious look at African American themes,” while others blame it on the fact that “Hollywood is making fewer serious, a.k.a. Oscar-worthy films,” in general. But why does the film have to necessarily address so called African American themes? Why not just hire the best actor/actress for the role. Then again, this is Hollywood. While many of these things leave me scratching my head. One thing I can say for sure is that in 2011, there still seems to be an underlying problem of casting any minority as a lead actor or actress in a film.

Do we even need to address the whitewashing of “The Last Airbender” or the whole “Prince of Persia” fiasco. Now whether this all stems from a fear of the film becoming stereotyped, a box-office flop or the fear of not being able to attract the cross marketing/multimillion-dollar campaigns necessary to garner Oscar attention is still up for debate. All I can say for sure is that Hollywood needs to get it together asap. Or should I start to address the other issue of why 90% of GLBT actors do not play GLBT roles in TV or film? Or is that asking too much?



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  • JaZZ

    2010 is was not a good year for black cinema… at all!!

    • chaka1

      You are right. The available roles just weren’t there. There were no black-themed biopics like Ali or Ray. There were no black blockbusters like Dreamgirls. There needs to be more blacks working in management at the studios where these films get greenlit, financed, distributed, and promoted.

  • sweetp1984

    or actresses^

  • tiffany55118

    I agree most of the African American leading men/women have already been stereotyped, and have a hard time acting outside of that stereotype. That and the lack of African American leading men/women are both contributing factors.

  • chaka1

    Tyler Perry is just one person. There needs to be at least 10 of him.

  • BoomBoomroom

    Amen bro!!!

  • RafiD'Angelo

    chaka1 might have missed the point a smidge. We need way less money being funnelled towards Tyler Perry and his Chittlin Circuit homies and way more towards the John Singletons and Kasi Lemmonses and Spike Lees and Antoine Fuquas of Hollywood.

    • Candid Canuck

      There you go!

  • Candid Canuck

    you hit the nail on the head. bullseye.

  • Candid Canuck

    u gotta point there.

  • Hollywood

    Bottom line is, white men do not think black women are beautiful / desired and black men are talented. That is why you are not working.

  • Hollywood

    Black women cannot be leading ladies, because in truth, white men do not want black women. There are black leading men, but not that many.

  • Innovatoor09

    This should not be a surprise to anyone. The Oscars have never had diversity. There lack of Asian Films, Latino Films, and Black Films is a history going back years.

    • BoomBoomroom


  • don't ask

    Hnk-honk who’s there? Don’t need your opinion of what white boys think. Who on this site gives a shytt? The beautiful black women in Hollywood wrap circles around those orange, (tanning booth) trout mouthed fakes you run with.

  • Ms.Mimi

    There are plenty of unknown great black actresses waiting to be taking on a major role to be Oscar/Golden Globe worthy but how can they get there if producers, etc. continuously hire the same ones over and over such as “Halle” as if she is the only black and highly qualified actress to do so?

  • Somali Ninga

    I think you mean the most JEWISH

  • BoomBoomroom

    Sorry I didn’t mean to say White!!

  • Concerned

    Black people have plenty of other options besides the films Hollywood puts out. But most black produced independent films go straight to dvd. Support black produced films,whether they’re Hollywood produced or independent.


    It’s about the art not the skin color. Let’s move beyond this and name some black performances this year that were Oscar worthy? I saw none and that includes the overrated Colored Girls which diverted so far from the original poem it was ridiculous.

    • lexi

      I was thinking the same thing too. If you look at most of the nominees for this year’s NAACP Awards for example, most of those performances doesn’t scream “Oscar”. I did hear Anthony Mackie did a great job in “Night Catches Us”, but it probably did not do that much campaigning. Sandra winning last year was a joke too. They probably gave it to her because she’s been in Hollywood for a long time.

  • talent

    @Ioc you are so right! Them dummys in the music industry think they can do everything

  • SayItLoudHD

    A definite blackout/whitewash. The Asians seem to have replaced us. Thank god for our own Image, Spirit Awards etc.

  • Timmy

    …Because there wasn’t enough good black films/roles..period

  • hollywood

    Only Halle Berry made money in Hollywood, and she was born to a beautiful blue eyed white woman. Laughing out loud at the irony. I guess white women win.

  • Wildcherry666

    I don’t know why black folks still keep complaining the Oscars are not diverse. So freaking what? You know how white folks are. It is not going to change. Black folks need to have their own Oscars. Have one which is way better than the white Oscars. Come on black people. Starting using them brains.

  • Harsh Realm

    Yuuuuup! It’s all about the behind the scenes machinations that will give blacks more cinematic opportunities. We keep begging Hollywood to give us roles then we accept the same mammy and pimp roles that get offered. Look at all the roles blacks have even won Academy awards for. They’re all stereotypical roles, except for the biopic ones like Morgan portraying Mandela or Jamie Fox as Ray Charles. We’re not gonna get nominated for normal roles until stop begging for handouts and we can make more decisions in the boardroom. In the meantime, let them have their Oscars and stop crying about. We’re not the only race getting ignored.

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