The hosts won’t be the only people missing from this year’s Oscars broadcast on Sunday — female directors and many actors of color were shut out of the 2020 nominations.
The nominees for the 92nd Academy Awards were announced last month, and to the surprise and dismay of many moviegoers, several names that were assumed to be shoo-ins were, in fact, snubbed.
They include Jennifer Lopez, whose turn in “Hustlers” scored her Golden Globes and SAG Awards nominations — yet she was left off the shortlist for the best supporting actress Academy Award. And Awkwafina, who made history as the first woman of Asian descent to win a lead actress Golden Globe last week for “The Farewell,” wasn’t included among the Oscars’ best actress nominees.
In fact, the only person of color to be nominated in any of the acting categories was Cynthia Erivo (“Harriet”), who picked up a best actress nod. Lupita Nyong’o wasn’t recognized for her dual performances in “Us.” Neither was Eddie Murphy, although he was nominated for a Golden Globe for “Dolemite Is My Name,” nor Jamie Foxx for “Just Mercy,” which got him a best supporting actor nomination at the SAG Awards. Alfre Woodard was overlooked for “Clemency” despite snagging a best actress nomination at the Independent Spirit Awards.
And not a single female director was named in the best director race, omitting contenders such as Lulu Wang (“The Farewell”), Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”), Marielle Heller (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”), Lorene Scafaria (“Hustlers”) and Alma Har’el (“Honey Boy”). No women directors were nominated for the Golden Globes, either.
“Congratulations to those men,” presenter Issa Rae said pointedly after reading the nominees.
Many disappointed audience members expressed their frustration on Twitter
The Academy Awards have been hit with the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag in the past — namely in 2015 and 2016, when no minorities were nominated in any of the four acting categories. And diversification in Hollywood continues to be a slow process.
For example, more women are taking on behind-the-scenes roles as directors (directing 33% of independent films between 2018 and 2019, up from 29%); writers (32%, up from 26%); producers (37% up from 36%); executive producers (32% up from 26%); and editors (29% up from 27%), according to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film at San Diego State University. But they are still in the minority, particularly women of color.
And there’s been no significant improvement over the past decade in the representation of people of color, women, LGBT characters or characters with disabilities, the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative reported in The Hollywood Reporter in 2018.
That’s an expensive mistake, considering that movies with more diverse casts also make more money, according to the Hollywood Diversity Report. In 2016, films with 21% to 30% minority actors had the highest median domestic box office ($62.5 million), while films with majority minority casts had the second-highest median domestic box office ($42.1 million). But movies that had minorities making up less than 10% of the cast earned just a fraction of that, at just over $20 million.
And the snubs have also got many viewers threatening to skip the Oscars this year, which is the last thing producers probably want to hear. Last year’s broadcast was the second-least watched in Oscars history, and the previous year’s show counted a record low number of viewers.
Some other surprises among this year’s nominees:
While Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” for Netflix
got 10 nominations, none of those went to Robert De Niro, although his co-stars Joe Pesci and Al Pacino were nominated.
“Uncut Gems” and Adam Sandler were also overlooked, despite the funnyman earning critical acclaim. And Taron Egerton was also passed on being nominated for playing Elton John in “Rocketman.”
The Oscars are ready to let “Frozen 2” go — the Disney
sequel didn’t land a nomination for bets animated feature. And Beyonce’s “Spirit” from Disney’s “The Lion King” remake wasn’t included in the best original song list.
This article was originally published in January, and has been republished ahead of the Academy Awards on Feb. 9, 2020.