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Is Netflix Contributing to the Oscar's Historic Lack of Diversity?

Gettyimages | VALERIE MACON
By Ben Robinson III

Now that it's awards season once again it's time for another round of America's favorite game; How Diverse Are The Nominations? Unfortunately, this country has a long history of excluding people of color and women from many of the major awards, and the rule as of late has been to push back against the lack of diversity. This issue was so prevalent a few yeas ago that the 'Oscars So White' hashtag was born, and a movement started towards more inclusive measures to be taken in Hollywood.

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Giphy | The Academy Awards

After a few years of Hollywood's shame in the aftermath of #OscarsSoWhite, there was a huge turn around in regard to diversity and inclusion pertaining to the nominations. The creator of the hashtag, April Reign, spoke with NPR at the time she coined the catchphrase and why it was such a necessary movement.

There was no way for me to know that a single tweet that I made from my family room in January of 2015 would have the impact that it has. And I'm not sure that anyone ever really knows what hashtag is going to become viral until it does.

The very first tweet was "#OscarsSoWhite they asked to touch my hair," and I was just being sort of cheeky and frustrated with what I was watching on the Oscar nominations and it just took off from there.

Streaming service Netflix may not have gotten the memo because now they're coming under fire for their lack of diverse Oscar nominations. As a matter of fact the Oscars aren't really celebrating diversity at all this year with only one black nominee, British actress/singer Cynthia Erivo.

Gettyimages | Nicholas Hunt

Apparently this was the year to undo all of the strides made in the past few years. And it looks like it's going to be more of the same this year as the Oscars are not embracing much diversity. The L.A. Times reports;

The way in which Netflix went about the Oscar race this year — no female directors, very traditional movies that focus almost exclusively on the personal illumination and/or transformation of white men — is disheartening, but not as disheartening as the level with which the streamer was rewarded for it.

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The nominations were also a bit shocking with the nod towards Netflix's The Irishman for Best Picture without nominating Irishman star Robert De Niro for Best Lead Actor.

How on earth can anyone consider “The Irishman” a candidate for best picture without celebrating De Niro’s (as ever) tremendous performance? If he wasn’t also a producer of “The Irishman,” I wouldn’t blame him if he skipped the whole thing — who wants to sit through another evening of being praised as if you were dead instead of a very much still-working actor who gave a tremendous performance in a best picture favorite? But no doubt De Niro will be there, supporting his film, his costars and, yes, Netflix, and after much complaining about the narrow demographic representation in too many categories, so will the rest of us. Declining ratings notwithstanding, the Oscar telecast remains the second-biggest live event on television, and for a reason: The Academy Awards matter.

The 92nd annual Academy Awards premieres Sunday, February 9. Check your local listings.

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