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Oscars 2015 Snubs and Surprises: Nominations Lack Latino, Black Nominees

First Posted: Jan 16, 2015 02:08 PM EST
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Oscars 2015 Nominations Lack Latino, Black Nominees

Photo : Paramount Pictures/A24

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their annual Oscar nominations with a number of big surprises and big omissions.

Among the omissions was the lack of diversity in the acting and directing categories.

It was the first time since 2011 that the 20 acting nominees were all white, and before that, 1998 was the last time the nominees were all white. As a matter of a fact, the most multicultural performance to be nominated was Marion Cotillard for her work in "Two Days, One Night." The performance was on nobody's radar, as it is all in French and the Academy rarely nominates foreign film performances. The last time Cotillard was nominated was seven years ago for her work in "La Vie En Rose" for which she won.

However, Cotillard is still considered white, and this is where the Academy missed out. There were a number of multicultural actors that should have been recognized for various films. The first actor that pops out is David Oyelowo for his work in "Selma." The actor was nominated for the Golden Globe and the Critics' Choice, and his performance scored rave reviews. Instead, the Academy went for Bradley Cooper's performance in "American Sniper," which received lukewarm reviews.

In that same category, Guatemalan actor Oscar Isaac could have also received his first nomination. The actor's performance in "A Most Violent year" was received with rave reviews, and he won the National Board of Review's award for Best Actor. The film also received rave reviews, but for some reason, it was released so late and never really took off in the awards race. It was the second year in a row Isaac was snubbed for Best Actor. Last year, his work in "Inside Llewyn Davis" failed to get shortlisted.

Mexico's Gael Garcia Bernal could have also been considered for the little-seen "Rosewater," which unfortunately never received the attention it deserved.

But the issue was not only seen in the Best Actor race. The Supporting Actress race could have easily included Britain's half-Nigerian/half Irish actress Carmen Ejogo for her impeccable work in "Selma." The Academy decided to ignore the work of the flourishing actress and instead opted for a 19th nomination for Meryl Streep. Streep is wonderful in "Into the Woods," but it is likely she will be recognized next year for her work in "Suffragette" or one of her other high profile films.

In the Best Actress race, Gugu Mbatha-Raw failed to make a bid for her work in "Belle" and "Beyond the Lights." The race was always seen as a four-person race filled with British and American white actresses. It never had a single space for any other actress, and this hurt Mbatha-Raw's chances from the start.

The directing race had some diversity, as Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu represented Mexico for his work in "Birdman." However, the Academy failed to make history by nominating Ava Duvernay's exceptional work in "Selma." She would have become the first black female director to be nominated. The film was among the best reviewed movies of the year, but mysteriously had no support from the Academy. It was also the second time in two years when a woman directing a Best Picture nominee was snubbed in place of a white male. In 2012, Kathryn Bigelow was left out of the Oscar race for her work on "Zero Dark Thirty" after the film was struck with controversy.

Women also failed to get nominated in the writing category. Gillian Flynn was among the most popular to be nominated for her work on "Gone Girl." However, the Academy only nominated white male writers and snubbed Flynn for her acclaimed work.

Most will recall last year was groundbreaking for the Academy as the first Latin American won the Best Directing award (Alfonso Cuaron, "Gravity"), and the first black producer won Best Picture (Steve McQueen, "12 Years a Slave"). Audiences may have believed the Academy was finally moving a step forward and were being progressive. However, this year when the race was wide open and there was a chance for surprises, the Academy demonstrated its backward thinking.

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