#OscarsSoWhite, Thank God We Have TV


After today’s Oscar nominations were announced, #OscarsSoWhite started trending on Twitter—for the second year in a row. The hashtag, created by editor April Reign (@ReignOfApril), refers to the fact that most of the people nominated for Oscars are white. Best Actor in a leading role category? All white. Best Actor in a Supporting role category? All white. Best Actress in a leading role category? All white. Best Actress in a Supporting role category? All white. (The category for Best Director is mostly white and all male, but includes Alejandro G. Iñárritu, who was born in Mexico. But no women.) Still, the fact remains that even though there were some great not-all-white movies in 2015—Creed, Sraight Outta Compton, Beasts Of No Nation, Concussion—apparently the Academy didn’t find those actors up to snuff.

But! As Emily Nussbaum, the TV critic for The New Yorker, points out:

While the movie industry is churning out #OscarsSoWhite projects, it’s on TV that women like Kerry Washington (Scandal), Taraji P. Henson (Empire), Viola Davis (How To Get Away With Murder), Tracee Ross (Black-ish), and Uzo Aduba (Orange Is The New Black) find meaty roles. It’s on TV that Latinas—Gina Rodriguez in Jane The Virgin, Jennifer Lopez in Shades of Blue, Eva Longoria in Telenovela—get a chance to shine. And Asian actors, like Priyanka Chopra on Quantico, the super-funny cast of Fresh Off The Boat, and Dr. Ken‘s Ken Jeong, have primetime slots as well. (And we can’t forget Aziz Ansari on Master Of  None!) Hell, there was even an entire Filipino family having Thanksgiving dinner on Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.

Studies show that women and people of color love movies, but the movie industry is ignoring them. It’s ridiculous that like last year’s, this year’s Oscars—the event that’s considered to be the pinnacle of achievement in film—will not reflect the people who enjoy going to films. Last year, according to Variety, the Oscars telecast had its lowest viewership since 2009. Will the numbers be even lower this year? Would people rather curl up with some excellent, inclusive TV instead?

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