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Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

PATEL: Evolution of the Oscars

Graphic by Erin Schneider

The Oscars are an exciting time of the year as many eager fans tune in to see all of their favorite movies and actors come together and celebrate each other’s achievements. The Oscars are known as one of the hardest and most prestigious awards to achieve. However, they need to take accountability for how most of their nominees and winners are not people of color.

There are roughly 81% white voters and 19% people of color on the committee. The bias begins with the fact that the committee members who vote for the winners are majority white.

Historically, most of the wins have been mostly white people until recently. Since 2000, there have been 72 winners for actors and actresses, which include Best Actor and Actress as well as Supporting Actor and Actress, 60 of them have been white.

While there have been a handful of Oscar winners who were Black starting from the 1940s, they didn’t get appreciated for their talent until well into the 2000s. More and more Black people got nominated and won more Oscars in this century.

There are still so many spots to be filled too. For example, Halle Berry has been the only Black female actress to ever have won an Oscar for Best Actress.

Even more so, those identifying as Asian have been less represented in the Oscars. For example, Asians have sporadically won since the mid-1900s.

The award for Best Actress went to Michelle Yeoh, who won for her role in “Everything, Everywhere, All at Once.” She made history by being the first Asian woman to win an Oscar.

Additionally, it is rare that a person of color has won Best Director. To this day, no Black person has ever won that title. The award was given out to the first actor of Asian descent, Ang Lee, in 2006 for his film “Brokeback Mountain.”

To effectively combat this issue, the Academy needs to ask itself if they are really being fair to actors and actresses everywhere if the majority of the winners are white. The nomination pool needs to be much more diverse, to begin with as everyone comes from so much talent, hard work, and dedication to the art.

This can happen by adding more members of color to the voting committee to erase any implicit bias. It can make the voting process more inclusive and allow those nominees of color to feel confident that they will have a potential win in their hands.

As viewers watching the Oscars from home, we can also advocate for a change as well. We need to show our support for minorities being nominated for these important awards. The best way to do so is to support their work and openly spread it to others who haven’t seen it. While it is up to the committee to decide who gets the final win, we can still show appreciation by following their work.

Additionally, it’s important to know that an Oscar win doesn’t mean that any other actor or actress is any less talented. They have worked hard to get to where they are and deserve the same love and appreciation for their hard work as we would give to those going up for an Oscar.

As the Oscars slowly make this change, the important thing to realize is that we have the privilege of watching history happen on our TV screens.

This story was written by Krisha Patel. She can be reached at [email protected].

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