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With Idris Elba, Will Smith and Michael B Jordan failing to get any recognition in the coveted acting categories at the 88th Oscars, the Academy is again facing controversy for ignoring black talent.
For the second year in a row, the Academy did not nominate any black actor to any of the 20 slots in the four acting categories.
If last year’s minority-free acting nominations led to the protest hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, this year’s all-white lineup is sure to trigger a fresh expression of outrage.
"Straight Outta Compton", the drama about the rise of the rap group NWA, although got an original screenwriting nomination, failed to earn a best picture nomination, even though the critically acclaimed movie has been recognised by other groups like SAG-AFTRA, which nominated its cast for a best ensemble award.
The Academy has made a concerted effort to diversify its own membership, which traditionally has been heavily older, white and male, inviting 322 new members this past July that included Selma star David Oyelowo, British actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who appears in "Concussion", and Compton director F Gary Gray.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has also announced a new initiative called A2020 to further diversify the Academy itself and also encourage the industry to open up more opportunities for women and minorities.
This year, only a handful of awards-caliber films focused on black stories, like Compton or the Africa-set Beasts of "No Nation", or featured black actors in prominent roles like Smith in "Concussion", Jordan and director Ryan Coogler of "Creed", Elba in "Beasts" and Samuel L Jackson in "The Hateful Eight".
Other performers like the Puerto Rico-born Benicio Del Toro, who was touted as a possible best supporting actor nominee for his performance as a CIA operative with a private agenda in Sicario, and Kitana Kiki Rodriguez and Mya Taylor, the transgender actresses, who were nominated for Spirit Awards for Tangerine were also overlooked.
Elba was nominated by BAFTA, SAG-AFTRA and the Golden Globes for his performance as an African warlord in Beasts, and Del Toro, a past Oscar winner for Traffic, was nominated by BAFTA for Sicario. But they failed to gain nomination at Oscars.