There is nothing celebratory about the lack of diversity in the Oscars nominations.

This year’s Oscar nominations have been announced, and it’s a manslide!

A White Manslide to be more precise. And while this is great news for all those merry white peens out there, there is some serious eyebrow raising going on in Hollywood and beyond, as critics come to terms with some of the biggest Oscar upsets and snubs in years.

For just the second time since the turn of the century, EVERY SINGLE nominee in the Academy’s four acting categories is white.

Critic favourite, David Oyelowo, who starred in the Martin Luther King biopic, Selma, was snubbed, as was Selma’s director, Ava Duvernay.

David Oyelowo, snubbed for his role in Selma.

Duvernay – who was tipped to be the first black woman EVER to be nominated for Best Director at the Oscars – was drowned out in an all-white category.

And other women didn’t fare a whole lot better. In fact, every single nominated director is male. Every single nominated screenwriter is male. Every single nominated cinematographer is male. All the sound editors are male. All the composers are male. And all six nominated editors would have been male were it not for one pesky woman who somehow snuck in there, destroying the whole darn festival-de-testicle. Bitch.

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And it’s not just the production side of things that is dominated by the fellas.

As London-based, Senior Lecturer in Film William Brown notes, film remains a space where men tell men’s stories, in a male way for male audiences.


Take the Best Picture nominees. We’ve got films about learning how to become a man (Boyhood, Whiplash).

There’s the film about the moral minefield of trying to be a good man (American Sniper).

Then the one about trying to get back to the man you could have been (Birdman), the crazy antics men get up to (The Grand Budapest Hotel), and the one about being a male genius whilst trying to hide the fact you like other men (The Imitation Game).

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And lest we forget, those celebrations of some other great men in The Theory of Everything… There is one documentary directed by a woman (Citizen Four), but it’s about a man. There is also a documentary about a woman (Finding Vivian Maier), but it is directed by two men.

The very white nominees for Best Actor.

Online, critics have reacted with shock and disappointment. Others have turned to humour to make their point. Actor and comedy writer Kevin McGraw tweeted: “I can’t wait for women to start making movies… I think they will have some really amazing perspectives on the industry.”

New York Daily News’ film critic Elizabeth Weitzman posted: “I, for one, am taking great comfort in the fact that all of this year’s Best Actress nominees are women.”

Click through the below gallery to see the female nominees of this year’s Oscars. Post continues after gallery.

Of course, when you look at who the voting members of the Academy are (ie. The Powers That Be who get to select the nominations), the lack of diversity is not in the least surprising.


Out of the 127 members, 102 of them are male (versus 25 women) and 94 per cent of all 127 members are white (there are only nine non-white people). What’s more, the average age for the group is 62 years.

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And when it comes to the issue of both race and gender, very little has changed over the years:

1. In Academy Award history, the highest percentage of female nominees was in 1994 at 26 per cent — and it immediately dropped to 16 per cent the following year.

2. The highest percentage of female winners was in 1929.

3. There has never been a female nominated for Best Cinematography.

4. Only four women have been nominated for Best Director and only one woman has won (Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker).

5. Since 1928, only six female candidates have been nominated for Special/Visual/Engineering Effects.

 lack of diversity in Oscar's nominations
An infographic detailing the main problem with the Oscar’s. Image via Lee & Low.

Thankfully, institutes such as the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media are conducting research to both document and address this lack of diversity.

Because the issue isn’t just that talented women – and women of colour in particular – are missing out on job opportunities and accolades in an industry that runs as a boys-club, the problem is far more wide reaching than that.

After all, the stories we tell shape us. They shape our values, our ideas, our beliefs and our shared sense of identity. So when women’s stories aren’t told properly, when female characters are ciphered through male lenses and a masculine view of the world, and when racial minorities are either excluded from view or else presented in stereotypical ways to appease white tastes, our understanding of these individuals as human beings is diminished.

We are all diminished.

And there is nothing celebratory about that.