By Nnamdi Egwuonwu, E23 Reporter

Based on the award show’s history, the Oscars have been white for a long time. According to The New York Times, since the award show began in 1929, only 6.7 percent of acting nominations have gone to non-white actors. You may assume that things have improved greatly in the past couple of years, considering how prevalent diversity and inclusion have been in mainstream media, but since 2010, only 8.3 percent of acting nominees have been non-white. General improvement? Yes. Anything to celebrate? Definitely not.

When Lupita Nyong’o took home the “Best Supporting Actress” award in 2013 for her role in “Twelve Years a Slave,” people were ecstatic. The actress was the first Kenyan (and Mexican), to take home the award, and the year prior no one of color was even nominated. The tear-inducing film revitalized the public’s hope for increased diversity in the award show’s nomination pool.

 

The year after, not a single person of color was nominated for any of the main acting categories; a move that quickly caused uproar and gave birth to the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag. The public decried the blatant lack of inclusion and criticized the award show for continuously failing to recognize the talented actors and actresses of color.

 

According to the Los Angeles Times, to try and minimize the public’s outrage, the academy responded by adding more women and minority members to its voting pool. Rather than being 94 percent white and male, the percentage dropped to 93 percent. Although the pool did become more diverse, not nearly enough members were added to compensate for the 6,000 white males that run the selection process. The outrage, like any other controversy, quickly dispersed, and the public ran off in search of the next big issue.

 

Fast forward to 2016. Once again, despite the scandal the year before, not one person of color was nominated in any of the acting categories. People have used a variety of methods to express their anger.

 

Jada Pinkett Smith, whose husband Will Smith did not receive a nomination for his critically acclaimed role in “Concussion,” teamed up with director Spike Lee to lead a boycott against the award show. Social media site users blasted the Oscars, reviving the #Oscarssowhite and creating the new #Oscarsstillsowhite hashtag. Users swore they will not watch the show. An array of critically acclaimed movies including “Straight Outta Compton” and the Idris Elba-led “Beasts of No Nation,” debuted in 2015, leaving many to question why no one of color was nominated.

 

The academy responded in a similar fashion to the year before, blaming the selection pool’s lack of diversity. Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, released a statement recognizing that the board’s attempt to diversify the academy’s ranks was not working as quickly as she would prefer. Isaacs said she will review the selection committee’s membership recruitment process for the future.

 

As the Oscars are slated to air Feb. 28, many people hope that Isaacs’ promises will come to fruition and that inclusion and diversity will be at the top of the priority list during next year’s selection.