The Oscars Are Trying Really, Really Hard To Be Less White

The lack of diversity at the Oscars is perhaps best evidenced by a real-life New York Times headline which reads, “Oscars So White? Or Oscars So Dumb? Discuss.

The answer is obviously “both,” as we see yet another banner year for blindingly white nominations. Perhaps the best response to this issue comes to us from Viola Davis at Elle’s Women in Television dinner last month. “The Oscars are not really the issue,” she told ET. “It’s a symptom of a much greater disease.”

That’s true. People of color need to be given parts in order to be awarded nominations, but you also have to consider that films like Creed and Straight Outta Compton received nominations for white men only. Basically, this is a massive heap of institutional racism, and there’s no other way to spin it unless, oh, wait, Kerry Washington is going to be a presenter?!?

Indeed, it appears the Academy is trying to distance itself from its awful, exclusionary reputation with a growing list of non-white people who will participate in the show.

Washington adds her name to a list along with Priyanka Chopra, Olivia Munn, Benicio Del Toro, Kevin Hart, Whoopi Goldberg, the Weeknd, Pharrell Williams and others who have asked to join alongside host Chris Rock. They are all stars in their own right, and, it’s worth noting, Washington and Chopra work for ABC, which while air the ceremony. Still, as Kara Brown put it over at Jezebel, “when you have so little diversity in the first place, it’s going to feel like pandering to some degree.”

For his part, Jones has said he will use is stage time to confront the issues head on. “They called me to go present with Pharrell and Common,” he told The Hollywood Reporter. “When I’m back [in Los Angeles], I’m going to ask them to let me speak for five minutes on the lack of diversity. If not, I’m not going to [present].”