The Academy Awards have become more than somewhat controversial over the years, and it’s not difficult to understand why. There has been a very clear lack of diversity not only in the winners of the prestigious award, but often in the nominations themselves. Some were hopeful this year would be different, and interestingly enough, we find ourselves both relieved and disappointed.
In an exciting turn of events, Black Panther received seven, well deserved nominations, including Best Picture. This is the first superhero film to ever be nominated in the category. Surprising when you think of Logan or The Dark Knight, but both were snubbed of nominations in previous years. Black Panther, both beautifully crafted and diverse, has well earned its place in nominations.
But unfortunately, there were quite a few snubs. Everyone was completely shocked by the Best Director nominees, which notably leaves out Bradley Cooper. While this isn’t an issue of diversity, we’re all taking issue with it. Cooper’s directorial debut, A Star Is Born, was beautiful and painful, raw and real, and he deserved recognition for the blood, sweat, and tears he poured into the film as its director. But that isn’t all that’s wrong with the category. None of the nominees are women. This category is infamous for its lack of diversity, with only five women ever being nominated, only one of whom actually won. Yet again the Oscars try to appear more diverse, but overall, miss the mark.
The critically acclaimed Crazy Rich Asians also failed to receive any nominations, surprising many. The romantic comedy featured an entirely Asian cast, adding so much diversity to the normal summer blockbuster lineup. Yet it didn’t even receive a nomination for its incredible costumes.
Also noticeably absent from the list of nominees was Timothée Chalamet, who many expected to receive a nomination for his performance in Beautiful Boy, where he played a young, bright teen struggling with drug addiction. But in fact, the film was entirely looked over, failing to receive a single nomination.
These are just a few of the notable snubs from this years Oscars. And from the films and actors that deserved nominations to the unquestionable lack of diversity in some of the categories, we find ourselves asking the same question we do every year: are the Oscars really what they used to be? If a film does not receive a nomination, or does not win, does that really affect our choice to see it? Most of us would say no. While the Oscars are slowly getting more and more diverse each year, they still have a long way to go. But can they change fast enough, or will another Awards show become the new Oscars? Only time will tell.
The 2019 Academy Awards Will Air On February 24th.