News & Politics

Another All-White Slate of Academy Award Acting Nominees

Despite some worthy performances, actors of color got shut out of the nominations.

Oscar host Chris Rock is not amused.
Photo Credit: vipflash/

Though technically a man of gold, Oscar will be all white again this year.

When the Academy Award nominations were announced Thursday morning, all of the acting nods went to white actors. Though this second-year-in-a-row Oscar white-out was pretty much expected, some harbored the hope that Michael B. Jordan would be recognized for his much-lauded performance in "Creed" and Will Smith would get a nod for his performance in "Concussion." Sony Pictures released "Concussion" on Christmas day, which many saw as a bid to place Will Smith in the running. But no.

Other overlooked films with predominantly black casts include two that were critically acclaimed: "Beasts of No Nation," starring Idris Elba, and "Straight Outta Compton," although in the latter case the white screenwriters were nomimated for a writing award. Less acclaimed and also overlooked was Spike Lee's "Chi-Raq."

The nominees for Best Actor are Bryan Cranston for Trumbo, Leonardo DiCaprio for "The Revenant," Michael Fassbender for "Steve Jobs," Eddie Redmayne (last year's winner) for "The Danish Girl," and Matt Damon for "The Martian." Best Actress contenders are Cate Blanchett for "Carol," Brie Larson for "Room," Jennifer Lawrence for "Joy" (the 25-year-old's fourth nomination), Charlotte Rampling for "45 Years," and Saoirse Ronan for "Brooklyn." (If you subcribe to the view that Golden Globe wins predict Academy Award wins, DiCaprio, Damon, Larson, and Lawrence all won Golden Globes.)

Supporting Actor nominees are Christian Bale for "The Big Short," Tom Hardy for "The Revenant" (surprise nomination), Mark Rylance for "Bridge of Spies," Sylvester Stallone for "Creed," and Mark Ruffalo for "Spotlight." The female nominees are Rooney Mara for "Carol," Rachel McAdams for "Spotlight," Alicia Vikander for "The Danish Girl," Kate Winslet for "Steve Jobs," and Jennifer Jason Leigh for "The Hateful Eight." 

Black actors were not the only ones who were snubbed. No woman director was nominated, though that is a whole other can of worms. Benicio del Toro failed to get a nomination for his well-regarded work in "Sicario." Harvey Weinstein did not get any Best Picture nominations, although no one is weeping about that. The blockbuster "Star Wars" sequel was also shut out of that category. Again, boohoo. Ridley Scott did not get a directing nod, despite the fact that his movie "The Martian," starring Matt Damon, got lots of Oscar love. 

So, Chris Rock gets to host the Oscars with its repeat of an all-white acting slate, a topic on which he will likely land some biting blows.

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