Last year, the Oscars came in for quite a bit of criticism within the American film community. The problem wasn’t that the nominees were too worthy, or the speeches too long. Nor was it that some of the best films of 2015 – Star Wars: The Force Awakens, The Martian, Steve Jobs – were snubbed. Nor did anyone complain that the picture that received the most nominations – The Revenant – was a three-hour snorefest starring the finger-wagging environmentalist Leo DiCaprio. No, the reason for all the grumbling was that the 88th Academy Awards weren’t politically correct enough. The good burghers of Hollywood got on their high horses about the fact that the 6,000 members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences – the people who make up the Oscars electorate – were too old, too male and, yes, too white.
Jada Pinkett-Smith announced she would be boycotting that year’s ceremony because no African-Americans had been nominated in the the four acting categories, including her husband Will Smith who was overlooked for his portrayal of a forensic pathologist in Concussion. Other African-American filmmakers joined the boycott, including Spike Lee and Don Cheadle, and the Twitter hashtag associated with the protest – #OscarsTooWhite – went viral. (To read more, click here.)