The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite took off in 2016 when — for the second consecutive year — every single nominated actor and actress was white.
The creator of #OscarsSoWhite, April Reign, is a writer and activist, and the managing editor of BroadwayBlack.com. She says though Hollywood has made progress as far as inclusivity, she cautions people who want to "cancel" #OscarsSoWhite and stresses that the hashtag is about "all marginalized communities."
Where are the films that show the Latino/Latina experience? Or the films that focus on the LGBTQIA community? There's still a lot of work to be done, despite the fact that we have a lot of great films this year — "Fences," "Loving," "Hidden Figures," "Moonlight," and so on.
Reign joined The Awards Show Show co-hosts Kyle Buchanan of Vulture.com and the Frame's John Horn to talk about how the hashtag started and its continued relevance.
On #OscarsSoWhite being "canceled":
It's very presumptive that it's occurring, and not only because we haven't even seen the nominations yet, so we can't know what's going to happen. But also because one year does not fix a problem that has been going on for over 80. There has been an increase in the number of films that reflect the black experience. However with respect to people of color overall, with respect to marginalized communities, which is what #OscarsSoWhite is all about, it's still been a relatively poor year.
On creating #OscarsSoWhite and making your voice heard:
I was a moviegoer who was watching the nominations and was frustrated with the homogeneity of the nominations in both the acting and the filmmaking categories. And that's it. I took to Twitter to vent my frustration. So there really is something to be said for using the platform that you have. I have a huge amount of followers now on Twitter that I did not have two years ago, but I think that if your voice is strong, if you have the facts to back you up, if you have the passion to speak about particular issues, you can make a difference.
On the impact of the hashtag so far:
[The British Film Academy has] made significant changes in two of their categories, introducing requirements to ensure that the movies in those categories are reflective of society and really speak to those who have been traditionally underrepresented in the filmmaking community. I'm hopeful that other awards organizations take this under advisement when they're making changes to how they view and vote for films. It’s a very encouraging start and I don’t see why the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, our Oscars, couldn’t do something very similar if they wanted to.