Target: Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ President, Cheryl Boone Isaacs
Goal: End exclusion of Native Americans and People of Color in Academy Awards nominations.
The time has come again for the film industries’ most popular award show of the year, and for the second year in a row, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has neglected to nominate actors of color for best actor/actress. The Oscars were criticized all of 2015 by the popular Twitter hashtag #OscarsSoWhite and the same will seemingly happen this year. Some members of the Academy even voiced their displeasure when Native American actress Misty Upham was featured in the “In Memoriam” montage, which bid a final farewell to the actors and actresses who sadly passed away before the award show. Some members’ accused Meryl Streep – Upham’s cast mate in “August: Osage County” – for adding Upham and displacing others.
This is the first time since 1998 that the Academy has not nominated an African-American actor for two years in a row. Films such as “Creed” and “Straight Outta Compton” only garnered nominations for Sylvester Stallone and white writers Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff. Unsurprisingly not a single Native American actor, filmmaker, or writer has been nominated since the Academy Awards first began in 1929. It is not lost on the public when Leonardo DiCaprio used his Golden Globe acceptance speech to address the racism toward indigenous people. It’s the first time in 44 years that an actor of his stature used an award show to draw attention to indigenous issues; the last time was in 1972 when Marlon Brando sent Native American actress Sacheen Little Feather to the podium to refuse his Academy Award for The Godfather in protest of Native American portrayals in movies. Sign the petition below to demand that the Academy end its erasure of Native Americans and actors of color.
Dear Ms. Boone Isaacs,
For the second year in a row, you have neglected to nominate any people of color for Best Actor/Actress. For the 88th year in a row, you have neglected to nominate a Native American in any category. I ask that you break this cycle. Many amazing films came out this year, such as “Straight Outta Compton” and “Creed,” but only white people got nominated for these movies. This has outraged many and they have taken to Twitter with the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite to voice their concern.
I also find it insulting that some of the members of the Academy criticized Meryl Streep for adding her co-star Misty Upham in the “In Memoriam” montage. Misty Upham was a wonderful actress from the Blackfeet Nation who unfortunately met her death at the bottom of a ravine back in October of 2014. It’s already bad enough that not a single Native American has been nominated for an Academy Award in any category, but to go as far as to voice distaste for one being mentioned in the “In Memoriam”? It’s truly no wonder that #OscarsSoWhite was so popular on Twitter for so long. I ask that you please change the way the Academy chooses its nominees so that more actors of color are nominated, and that the Academy finally nominate a Native American.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Toby Canham