With a notable snub for the star of “Selma,” this year’s slate of Oscar nominees is one of the least diverse in recent memory.
Of the 20 performers nominated across four acting categories, all 20 are white.
David Oyelowo, who played Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in "Selma," was thought to be in the running for the Best Actor category, but he was shut out in favor of actors including Bradley Cooper in “American Sniper.”
There were no Hispanic, Asian-American or American-Indian actors nominated in any of the acting categories, male or female.
The dismal numbers of nominees of color doesn’t come at a surprise to anyone who follows the film industry closely: Of the 80 Oscars that have gone to actors in the last 20 years, 67 have been awarded to white performers.
Nor is it a surprise to any regular moviegoers: other than "Selma," none of this year’s Best Picture nominees include actors of color in a leading role.
While Oscar voters are overwhelmingly white and male, media watchdog groups that follow diversity in Hollywood say the Motion Picture Academy isn’t entirely to blame for the lack of diversity amongst nominees.
“The whole industry is to blame and it starts with the agents,” Alex Nogales, president of the National Hispanic Media Coalition, told Fusion. Nogales said casting agents and the studios that fund and release films share the blame for the lack of diversity amongst leading roles in films.
“We have a group of people that are more comfortable dealing with people that are like them and that’s why you have so many stories that are pretty much the same,” he said.
A snow white best actress category
This year’s nominations ensure that Best Actress will remain the whitest amongst acting categories. Halle Berry took the Best Actress prize in 2001. Since then, she’s been the first and only actress of color to win the Academy Award for acting in a leading role.
“[This award is] for every nameless, faceless woman of color that now has a chance because this door tonight has been opened,” Halle Berry said in her memorable speech.
Indeed, more actresses of color have been nominated in the years since, but none of them have actually taken the award. Penélope Cruz (“Volver”), Catalina Sandino Moreno (“Maria Full of Grace”), Gabourey Sidibe (Precious), Viola Davis (“The Help”) and Quvenzhané Wallis (“Beast of the Southern Wild”) all lost to white actresses.
And then there’s the Latinos
Latinos behind the camera have had some Oscar success, but it’s a different story in front of the camera.
This year, Mexican filmmaker Alejandro González Iñárritu was nominated for best director for his film “Birdman.” But there were no Latinos nominated in any acting category, despite the fact that the Latino dollar is overrepresented at the box office.
In 2013, Latinos made up 17 percent of the population but accounted for 32 percent of frequent moviegoers, according to a study published by the Motion Picture Association of America.
The irony is the Oscar statue may actually have been modeled after Mexican actor Emilio "El Indio" Fernandez but the award hasn’t gone to any Mexican actors since Anthony Quinn took the prize in 1956.
There is some hope to see people of color on stage on Oscar Sunday. “Selma,” which was directed by Ava DuVernay, an African-American woman, and produced by Oprah Winfrey, was nominated for Best Picture.
The Oscar ceremony will air live on ABC on February 22, 2015.