Demand Fair Representation at the Oscars

Target: Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

Goal: Guarantee fair representation of women and people of color in Academy Awards nominations

There was a clear lack of representation of women and people of color in this year’s Academy Awards. No people of color were nominated in any of the four acting categories, and no female writers or directors were nominated in their categories. All movies in the Best Picture category are focused on men, and seven out of eight of them are focused on white men. It is unacceptable that in 2015 women and people of color will still be completely disregarded in the film industry, and movies that are created by or represent these groups will receive no attention or praise.

Despite predictions, the director of Selma, a historical drama about the Civil Rights Movement, was not nominated in the Best Director category. None of the actors in Selma were nominated either, further exemplifying the Academy’s disappointing decision to focus on white filmmakers and actors.

The problem with the Oscars’ lack of diversity is not just the lack of appreciation of the contribution of women and people of color to the film industry, but also the message it sends to potential filmmakers, writers, producers, and actors all around the world. It promotes the idea that stories about women and people of color are not interesting and not worth exploring, and that filmmakers have to be men–ideally white men.

This makes it hard to involve young women and people of color in film-making, and makes it harder for working actors, writers, and directors to get the recognition they deserve. Please call on the Academy to ensure that they recognize the contribution women and people of color make to the film industry and promote more diversity in the film industry and the stories it explores.


Dear Ms. Boone Isaacs,

This year’s Academy Awards nominees were recently announced, and many people expressed their disappointment with the list’s lack of diversity. This year’s nominations were extremely male and white, and definitely not representative of the U.S. population. In 2015, it is expected that women and people of color will be recognized for their work as actors, writers, and directors, but this year’s Academy Awards will not reflect that.

All 20 individuals nominated in the acting categories are white, and once again no female directors are nominated for Best Director. In fact, only four women were ever nominated for this award in the Academy Awards’ 86 years, and only one has ever won it. This year there are also no female writers nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay or Best Original Screenplay. Moreover, all eight films nominated for Best Picture are focused on men, and seven of them are focused specifically on white men. This sends the message that stories about women and people of color do not deserve to be told, and that women and people of color cannot be successful filmmakers.

I know this issue is important to you, and I want to encourage you to make it a priority for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, because it is unacceptable for this to happen in 2015. There are many filmmakers out there who deserve recognition although they are not white men, and a lot of potential filmmakers who could be inspired by them.


[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Prayitno via Flickr

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