Oscars Still So White: Here are the POC Who Were Nominated and Those Who Were Snubbed

Maria Perez SAVE THIS
Joel Cohen & Ethan Cohen & Scott Rudin at the 80th Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre, Hollywood. February 24, 2008 Los Angeles, CA Picture: Paul Smith / Featureflash

The Oscar nominations are out and, to no one’s surprise, there is a lack of diversity among the nominees.

The nominations for the 92nd annual Academy Awards were announced on Monday, with a long list of white men and other white contenders. The list includes actors Leonardo DiCaprio for Best Actor for the movie “Once Upon a Time…In Hollywood” and Scarlett Johansson for Best Supporting Actress for her role in “Jojo Rabbit” and Best Actress for the Netflix movie “Marriage Story.” The movie “Joker” led the Academy Award contenders with 11 nominations, including best picture.

The lack of diversity in this year’s nominations spurred the return of the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, which went viral after the 2015 nominations when not a single actor of color received a nomination, as well as a new one, #OscarsSoWhiterAndWithMoreMen. Nominations presenter and actress Issa Rae quickly pointed out the lack of any female directors nominated, same as with The Golden Globes, while presenting all the nominees with actor John Cho on Monday.

“Congratulations to those men,” she said.

Below is a list of actors, actresses and movies that the Academy ignored for this year’. 

People of Color that were nominated

  • Bong Joon Ho for Best Director for the movie “Parasite”:  The drama/thriller was nominated for Best Picture, Original Screenplay and International Feature Film. Despite the film’s acclaim, there were no nods to any of the actors from the film. 
  • Cynthia Erivo for Best Actress for the movie “Harriet”:  The actress who played Harriet Tubman in the biopic “Harriet” is the only person of color to be nominated in an acting category. Erivo is also nominated in the Original Song category for her recording of “Stand Up.” At 33 years old, Erivo could become the youngest EGOT (winner of an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony)  if she were to win an Oscar

People of Color that were snubbed

  • Awkwafina: The Asain American actress took home a Best Actress in a Comedy or Drama Golden Globe earlier this month for her portrayal as Billi in the film “The Farewell,” yet didn’t receive even a nomination from The Academy. The director of the movie, Lulu Wang, was also snubbed. “No Awkwafina and Lulu Wang. No female directors. No gender issues. Not enough cultural diversities.  Totally disappointed about the White Male Oscars,” one Twitter user wrote. 
  • Lupita Nyong’o: Twitter was up in arms after the actresses lead role in the mystery/thriller “Us,” directed by Jordan Peele, was ignored. In the movie, Nyong’o plays Adelaide Wilson, a mother who is haunted by a past traumatic experience and is afraid something bad will happen to her and her family while on vacation. When four masked strangers wearing Red jumpsuits who look exactly like them appear in front of their vacation home, the Wilsons have to fight for their lives. “Scarlett Johansson was nominated TWICE and yet Lupita Nyong’o didn’t get an Oscar nomination for playing TWO incredible roles in the same movie?” one Twitter user wrote.
  • Eddie Murphy: The actor and comedian who portrayed comedian, film star and rap pioneer Rudy Ray Moore in the 2019 Netflix movie “Dolemite is My Name,” was also snubbed from a nomination for the Oscars this year, despite plenty of award-season buzz and a Golden Globe nomination for Best Actor in a Comedy or Musical. The movie just won the Critics Choice Award for Best Comedy on Sunday night, and Ruth E. Carter won Best Costume Design for the movie. 
  • Jennifer Lopez: Lopez’s portrayal of Ramona Vega, a veteran stripper turned scam artist in the movie “Hustlers”, created serious Oscar buzz. Although Lopez’s performance received a Best Supporting Actress nod at the 25th annual Critics Choice Awards, fans were furious the movie received zero nominations. One fan on Twitter wrote: “Jennifer Lopez was snubbed from her first ever Oscar nomination so others could be recognized for playing the same basic white women character.”
  • Beyoncé: The singer and Grammy award winner did not get a nomination for her song “Spirit” for the live-action movie of the “Lion King,” directed by Jon Favreau. 
  • The entire cast of Queen & Slim: The movie, starring “Get Out”’s Daniel Kaluuya and Jodie Turner-Smith did not receive a single nomination. Directed by Melina Matsoukas and written by Lena Waithe, the movie is about a first date between two, young Black people who accidentally shoot and kill a police officer after the officer pulled out a gun during a police stop. The two have no choice but to go on the run. Despite it’s Oscar nominee snub, the film has been nominated for six NAACP awards.

Why It Matters

Some of the best films were directed by women and people of color. Directors, actors and actresses of color were also snubbed at the 77th Golden Globe awards, like actress Regina King for the show “Watchmen,” director Ava Duvernay for her series on the Central Park 5 titled “When They See Us” and many others. This continues to be problematic, as award shows like the Golden Globes, the Academy Awards and the Emmys help actors, actresses and directors continue to thrive in the industry.

In 2016, the Academy announced in a press release that it would do more to increase diversity by establishing three new seats on the Board of Governors.  


About the Author

Maria Perez is a breaking news writer for The North Star. She has an M.A. in Urban Reporting from the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism. She has been published in the various venues, including NewsweekJuvenile Justice Information Exchange, City Limits, and local newspapers like The Wave and The Home Reporter.


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