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Biggest takeaway from Oscar nominations? Black people must have no talent

Sahil Bhalla | Updated on: 14 February 2017, 5:17 IST

Another year, another list of Oscar nominations - which means, naturally, another round of social media trends based on whatever is the dominant outrage of the day.

Last year, that was the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag which became a top trend, and a rallying cry for diversity. It marked the first time since 1997 where every acting category had an all-white nominee list.

The Academy seems to have been gunning for a rerun of infamy, though, because this is the second year in a row where not one nominee in the four major acting categories is a person of colour. And people of colour are largely missing from other categories too, with stray exceptions.

Which, naturally, signaled version 2.0 of the hashtag - this time, #OscarsStillSoWhite was the call of the day.

All major websites found themselves in almost surreal agreement.

CNN's story read, "Once again, #OscarsSoWhite".

"The Oscars are so white, yet again" reads Quartz.

"Oscars 2016: Nominations are #OscarsSoWhite all over again" said Mashable

"Oscar Nominees Include Zero Nonwhite Actors" the Hollywood Reporter website said.

"Oscars May Have Black Host, But All White Nominees in Top Categories" said NBC News.

It's clear that Spike Lee wasn't overstating things back in November when, after accepting an honorary Oscar at the Governor's Awards, he said it was "easier to be president of the United States as a black man than be the head of a studio".

Last night on Twitter, that sentiment was dominant.

If it's at all possible, in fact, this year is worse than the last: 2015 had Selma nominated for Best Picture, while in the 2016 nominations, not a single movie nominated for Best Picture has a person of colour as the protagonist.

The composition of the Academy is one of the core issues - nominees are overwhelmingly white, overwhelmingly older, overwhelmingly male - and clearly underwhelmingly fair.

According to a Los Angeles Times report from 2013, the Academy's membership is 93% white and 76% male with the average age in the early 60s.

In fact, people of colour make up 1/2 of all movie tickets but only 1/4 of roles onscreen.

Straight Outta Compton, a film directed by a black person, was nominated for Best Original Screenplay. Should we be celebrating this diversity? No. Because that very screenplay was written by three white men - and was snubbed for Best Picture.

Just in case you thought well maybe there just weren't any great "performances by black actors in 2015", well here's a Washington Post story that lists eight of them.

The Academy may just not care, but in the real world, it's clear people do:

There was just enough room left over in Outrage Central for one more thing - the Academy also snubbed the critically-acclaimed Carol for Best Picture, and enough people are willing to bet it may be because this is a lesbian movie.

First published: 15 January 2016, 7:14 IST
Sahil Bhalla @IMSahilBhalla

Sahil is a sports and tech correspondent on the speed news desk at Catch. A gadget freak, he loves offering free tech support to family and friends. He studied at Sarah Lawrence College, New York and worked previously for Scroll. He selectively boycotts fast food chains, worries about Arsenal, and travels whenever and wherever he can. Sahil is an unapologetic foodie and a film aficionado.