Will Smith, on Sunday, took home the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his role as the father/coach of tennis legends Serena and Venus Williams in King Richards. Smith's win was the first time in more than a decade that an African-American won the award, the last being Forest Whitaker in 2006, for his role as Idi Amin in the historical drama The Last King of Scotland.
The Academy has faced heat in recent years for the lack of inclusivity in its nominations. This year, of the 35 nominations in the Big Five (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Screenplay), only eight were Black, Asian or Hispanics, according to a Statista report.
While the Oscars have tried to add more inclusivity in recent years, especially in the 'Best Director' category, with South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-ho winning in 2020 for his 2019 film, Parasite, the lack of inclusiveness has been found in the Best Actress category.
Between 2015 and 2021, only 6 non-white women were nominated for the award.
This lack of representation lead to the #oscarsstillsowhite movement in 2015, and gained momentum the subsequent as the Academy failed to address the issue.
According to the report, from 2015 to 2022, only 6 Black and 2 Asian actors were nominated while the number of white actors stood at 27. It also showed that no actors of Latin American ethnicity were nominated in these years. In the Best Actress category, 4 Latin Americans and 2 Black actors were nominated as compared to 29 white actors. It also showed that no Asian actors were nominated for the category as well. Though, Minari's Youn Yuh-jung and West Side Story's Ariana DeBose took home the awards for Best Supporting Actresses in the last two years.
While there has been a slight shift in terms of inclusivity in the Academy, with movies like Parasite, Minari and Drive My Car gaining much recognition in the global platform, it still remains a long road to go for the Academy to rub off its 'all-white' status.
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