It started with a hashtag, and it’s turned into a juggernaut. The #OscarsSoWhite campaign has put Hollywood in the spotlight. It has led to headlines, talk of boycotts and a plan to change the procedures for Academy membership and Oscar voting.
It came from highlighting a simple fact. For the second year, all the nominees in the acting category at the Academy Awards are white. There are nominations for two films with an African-American focus – the Rocky reboot Creed and the rap biopic Straight Outta Compton – but they’ve gone to a white actor (Sylvester Stallone) and white screenwriters.
Yet for many – including those closely identified with the campaign – the focus is not solely on omission. It’s also about opportunity. The hashtag was started by April Reign, managing editor of a theatre website called BroadwayBlack.com, and this is a point she’s keen to emphasise. (more…)