So white, so wrong

The Oscars are going to lose their luster if they don’t better represent minorities

Saturday Night Live did a brilliant job skewering the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences over the Oscars’ lack of diversity with its skit showing white movie extras and one-off characters beating out the brilliant performances of their minority castmates.

That bit of social commentary comes during the second year in row that actors of color were ignored by the Academy. That is, for two straight years, all of the nominees for Best Actor and Actress and Best Supporting Actor and Actress were Caucasian. Or, as has been described all over Twitter since the nominees were announced last week, #OscarsSoWhite.

Indeed, that probably has a lot to do with the fact that Oscar voters are overwhelmingly white (more than 90 percent), overwhelmingly male (70 percent) and older (average age, 60s). That’s something that needs to change and we hope that the recent efforts to increase diversity actually do so.

We cannot blame the actors and other industry insiders who are planning to boycott this year’s awards ceremony. The Academy has an obligation to better reflect the makeup of the film-going public that supports the industry.

As for the nominations themselves, at no time in the history of film has there been a more diverse cast of movies, actors, directors, etc., to choose from. Moreover, as critics have pointed out, there were many stellar performances in 2015 by people of color. Perhaps what makes the oversight more egregious is that it comes during this time of heightened race relations throughout the country.

Chico may be far from the glitz and glamor of Hollywood, but what’s happening there transcends the area’s confines. The Oscars are universal. They are heralded in the homes of viewers from Butte County to Bangkok. It’s time they are treated as such by the Academy.