Hollywood Get Ready! I’m a’Comin!

We live in one of the most extraordinary times in America. We experienced the election of a Black man as president. We saw the nomination by a major political party of a woman for the office of presidency. Cheryl Boone Isaacs is the first Black woman president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Alfonso Cuarón is first Mexican director to win an Oscars for Best Director for Gravity (2013).

All of those firsts required talent, acutely honed skills, vision, ambition, and facing and navigating a system, a fortress really, that was built to keep anyone who is not an able-bodied white, straight man out. For example, over the past three years, of the 56 documentary directors nominated for an Oscar, 77 percent on the Oscar shortlist were men and 23 percent are women. Breaking down the percentages to include both race and gender shows an obvious favoritism towards white directors. Throughout those three years, from 2014 to 2016, 71 percent of those shortlisted are white men and 18 percent are white women. In fact, in 2015, all 17 of the directors short listed for category were white.

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