Lupita Nyong'o's Oscar Win Last Year Casts Spotlight On Lack Of Diversity In 2015

Lacy LangleyLife

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Lupita Nyong'o won an Academy award last year for her stunning performance in 12 Years A Slave.

Lupita Nyong'o's win was among a variety of instances in which diversity was a big part of last year's Oscars.

In addition to Lupita Nyong'o, Ellen DeGeneres, an outspoken lesbian, was hosting and the first Latino, Alfonso Cuaron, won the Oscar for best director.

And, of course, filmmaker Steve McQueen was infamously hopping for joy after 12 Years a Slave won best picture.

Shortly before her win, Lupita Nyong'o made the world love her with a speech on "dark beauty".

Delighted to be in #Selma company at the @essencemag #BlackWomenInHollywood event. @oprah Regram @carmenejogo

A photo posted by Lupita Nyong'o (@lupitanyongo) on

Since then, Lupita Nyong'o has become a symbol of "dark beauty" herself.

During her speech, Lupita Nyong'o told of a young girl who wrote her a letter saying that Nyong'o had saved her.

The girl was apparently getting ready to lighten her skin, but after Nyongo's success, she decided not to and to be proud of who she was.

Lupita Nyong'o said at the end of her speech, "I remember a time when I too felt unbeautiful. I put on the TV and only saw pale skin."

She added, "And so I hope that my presence on your screens and in the magazines may lead you, young girl, on a similar journey."

This year, the Oscars are noticeably lacking in the diversity department.

In fact, all 20 acting nominees are white this year. Also, the lack of nods for Selma is a shock, and some might say a disgrace.

As to the Oscars' exclusive history, Darnell Hunt, a UCLA professor and director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies and co-author of a 2014 diversity report on the film and TV industries, says it's nothing new.

"I was surprised but then I wasn't," he said.

He added, "What we saw in terms of the nominations this year was business as usual. What we got was more or less an accurate reflection of the way the industry is structured and the way the academy is populated."

The outcry has attracted the likes of Al Sharpton, who called for a task force to look into the diversity problem at the Oscars. Sharpton said of the movie industry, "The movie industry is like the Rocky Mountains, the higher you get, the whiter it gets."

That guy. Always classy.

However, Lionel Chetwynd, an Oscar-nominated writer and an academy member, argued against the whole "task force" idea.

He said, "Enforced 'diversity' will undermine the very mission of AMPAS. As new filmmakers and craftspeople achieve new levels of excellence, the face of the academy will change as it should, to the meter of its time, the pace of its art."

What do you think? Do you think Hollywood should experience some enforced diversity or do you think the Academy is a pretty fair judge of art and talent and they should be left to do their jobs without interference?

Lacy Langley
Lacy is a writer from Texas. She likes spending time in the home office, homeschooling her kids, playing the didgeridoo, caring for her chickens (Thelma and Louise), Rolos, Christmas, and Labyrinth.