Oscars 2017

Have the Oscars got over their Unconscious Bias in 2017?

With this year’s Oscars only a two days away, we discuss whether or not the Academy Awards have realised and aimed to root out their Unconscious Biases.

At last year’s academy awards, Chris Rock explained the Unconscious Bias in Hollywood as “sorority-racist.” It was the perfect analogy to describe the circumstances that black and minority actors face in the film industry.

Filmmakers and those involved in film production aren’t inherently racist themselves. However, it is the prejudices they aren’t even aware of that keep them from casting non-white actors in certain roles.

This bias has also been seen at the last two Academy Awards as both featured an all-white nominee list which led to bedlam across social media. So, have the Academy changed their ways in 2017?

It seems so…

The list below features actors nominated who are of a black or ethnic background:

  • Denzel Washington (Best Actor), Fences
  • Ruth Negga (Best Actress), Loving
  • Naomi Harris (Best Supporting Actress), Moonlight
  • Viola Davis (Best Supporting Actress), Fences
  • Octavia Spencer (Best Supporting Actress), Hidden Figures
  • Mahershala Ali (Best Supporting Actor), Moonlight
  • Dev Patel (Best Supporting Actor), Lion

Each of the four acting categories have five nominees meaning 7/20 nominees this year weren’t white. That is a sizeable improvement!

However, many will say the Academy “has only” included these actors due to the backlash they faced last year, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

We have made those with the influence on popular culture aware of their biases. The world educated them on their own prejudice and now they have altered their previous mindsets.

The Academy has undoubtedly made a conscious effort this year to include a more diverse range of nominees. The question is whether this diversity will continue into 2018 and beyond.

Only time will tell but, let us know your thoughts in the comments below! Is this a positive step for long term change or a short-term fix for the Academy?

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