Arash Afshari

People of color are now taking the spotlight at Oscar Awards.

Michelle Arshad, Reporter

One of the most prestigious awards world wide that a filmmaker and crew or a noble actor or actress, the Oscars is a yearly award show premiered to recognize exceptional works of cinema on a public stage. The 2019 Oscars Award Show was no less stunning than the last, but what set it apart from the previous years was that it is noted to be a victorious win for people of color in mainstream media and production. In the past, people have pressed the Oscars for being a white washed award show that neglected to recognize people of color in their wins. However in 2019, it seems the Oscars have diversified their nominees as well as their winners.


More prominently, the sudden introduction and progressiveness in the nomination lists has a good portion of its watchers questioning its true motives behind representation.


Much of the Oscars outlash started with a specific hashtag that trended worldwide. The fiery “Oscars So White” movement directly called out the Oscars on its whitewashed selection in many of the previous years. Created by April Reign in 2015, it started as an effort to bring public awareness to how the nominee list severely lacked people of color. The hashtag quickly gained popularity amongst Twitter users to criticize and even begin to boycott the Oscars and it supporters. According to USA Today, the hashtag that caused the movement was backed by many different celebrities including Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith.


The movement has recently resurfaced with the announcement of the 2019 Oscars nominee line up. However, this time, it wasn’t to induce public criticism, but to reflect on the diversity that the new nomination list provided.


Alice Abia-Okon is a Junior here at Seminole High School who is familiar with the hashtag that is trending on twitter and fully understands the Oscars faults. She notes how the hashtag is providing fresh, yet familiar perspectives on the Oscars. However, she blames the committee for being the real issue behind this, saying that the key ethnic characters are not a full representation of the minorities. Though she does not fully support the Oscars because of this issue, she does believe it is moving in a positive direction.


“The Oscars this year were a little messy, because of the lack of host and some other mishaps, and the diversity is great, yet questionable,” she said. “Although this hashtag is showing how much the Oscars has improved, it also neglects the fact that they still missed key minority groups in their representation and how long overdue the representation is. We shouldn’t gear the hashtag towards the audience, but more towards the corrupt committee.”


From Roma, the movie that casted a native Mexican actress into the main female lead, to the extremely popular box office hit Black Panther and the phenomenal yet misunderstood Pixar short, Bao, the list was a win for people of color. While people were ecstatic about the nominations, many were still upset about the alleged snubbing of Crazy Rich Asians and it’s all Asian American cast, though no complaints were made from the people who created the movie.The nominees were also up against many adverse opponents such as Rami Malek, an Egyptian actor for Bohemian Rhapsody, and Mahershala Ali for best supporting male actress.

What really shocked the audience was the fact that, even though the competition was intense, many actors and films of minority walked away with major wins.


Senior Alana Torres watched and tracked the Oscars till its conclusion. Unlike Abia-Okon, Torres says that incorporating a few ethnic actors and movies isn’t a forced attempt at being diverse. Rather, it’s a start or attempt at a more diverse media in the world. It’s a win for the empowerment of ethnic minorities.


“It’s just the beginning,” she said. “The Oscars is going to grow diverse and the committee is going to shift to see ethnic films and actors in a brighter light. This isn’t ideal, but it’s a win in my book.”


The 2019 Oscars is arguably one of the most iconic award shows that will be premiered this year. However, they are still far from representing ethnic minorities in a natural and deserving way. For some, while this is an advancement in representing minority actors and filmmakers in their phenomenal works of film. For others, this was simply an attempt at clearing their record and seeming more progressive.


“The Oscars shouldn’t have to represent diversity, it should be a natural incorporation” said Abia Okon. “Diversity should be able to represent itself.”


Opinions about the 2019 Oscars Award show have varied and are abundant. It is certain that the award show is beginning to take into consideration people of color in entertainment when electing their nominees. One could say that this is long overdue. It can also be implied that this is more the fault of the decision committee, and less of the award show itself. However, this years award show still maintains its title as a beautiful celebration of people of color and its most iconic moment being Rami Malek casually tripping off stage.