#OscarsSoWhite: How the Hollywood Machine Plays Racial Politics

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For the second year in a row, not a single person of color has been nominated for an acting Oscar. But for many, that isn't really a surprise, especially when you consider that the Academy is made up of mostly white men over 50.

It even seems a bit ironic that comedian Chris Rock is set to host the awards this year. The last time he hosted, back in 2005, he acknowledged the Academy's race problem:

"We have four black nominees tonight!" he said. "So great! It's kind of like the def Oscar jam tonight.”

Celebrities like Director Spike Lee and Actress Jada Pinkett Smith are boycotting the ceremony this year. Pinkett Smith posted a video to Facebook, alluding to the fact that black artists generate tons of revenue for a mostly white industry.

“Maybe it is time that we pull back our resources and we put them back in our communities, into our programs, and we make programs for ourselves that acknowledge us in ways that we see fit, that are just as good as the so-called mainstream ones,” she said.

Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a statement that the industry will take "dramatic steps" to diversify their membership. But will that actually translates to more artists of color getting the recognition they deserve?

Shola Lynch, a filmmaker and curator at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem, and Paul Beatty, a poet and author most recently of a novel is called "The Sellout," discuss the whiteness of the Academy Awards, and what it says about people of color in the film industry. 

What you'll learn from this segment:

  • How some are working to make the Oscars more diverse.
  • How the film industry itself is contributing to a lack of diversity.
  • How things have and haven't changed in Hollywood.