Hollywood’s Diversity Problem Isn’t So Black And White
Oscar nominations are in, and black creatives will be fully present at this year’s ceremony.
Among a host of noteworthy nods, Viola Davis (Fences), Octavia Spencer (Hidden Figures) and Naomie Harris (Moonlight) each have a well-deserved shot at taking home the award for Best Supporting Actress, as their respective films contend for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.
In spite of the much-needed splash of melanin, Arenas Entertainment founder and CEO Santiago Pozo reckons that the Academy still has a long way to go. “[According] to Merriam-Webster, the word diversity means ‘the inclusion of different types of people (as people of different races or cultures) in a group or organization.’ One must reasonably extrapolate that ‘different types of people’ doesn’t mean just black or white,” Pozo wrote in a guest column for Deadline on Monday (Jan. 23).
While the executive pointed out that Asians were largely underrepresented at the 2017 Golden Globes as during most award seasons, Pozo is most perplexed when zooming in on how his community is often regulated to the sidelines, if not left completely out of the conversation.
“Where were the actual Latino nominees in the fancy dresses and tuxedos? Surely, we can’t be waiting for Alfonso Cuarón or Alejandro González Iñárritu to direct another movie before we dare to nominate a Hispanic filmmaker,” he later continued. “Surely, it can’t be that the last Hispanic actor to actually win an Oscar in an acting category was Benicio Del Toro 16 long years ago, in 2001? And surely it can’t be that the last time a Latino actor/actress was even invited to the Oscars as an acting nominee was in 2011, when Demian Bichir received a Best Actor nomination for A Better Life.”
The drought is felt the day after his commentary, as Hamilton genius Lin-Manuel Miranda and acclaimed Mexican cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto are the only Latinos to land spots on this year’s list of Oscar nominees. Yet, if you ask Pozo, the blame doesn’t merely rest with the Academy nor the Hollywood Foreign Press. “Those institutions reflect what our industry does, and the truth is that opportunities for Hispanics, both in front and behind the camera, are few and far between.”
While not the root – but surely a reflection – of a deep-seated issue, it looks like #OscarsSoWhite isn’t quite buried after all. Read Santiago Pozo’s full thoughts here.