Entertainment Movies How did these black actors miss Oscar nominations?
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How did these black actors miss Oscar nominations?

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Chi Raq
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You can always count on the Oscars to generate controversy – bad hosts, shocking frocks and cringeworthy speeches abound – but this year’s biggest issue has emerged a month before the ceremony.

For the second year in a row, all 20 contenders for acting awards are white. And people are taking notice.

Taking to the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, celebrities and the public alike have voiced their disappointment at the selections, while some of the film industry’s biggest names will boycott the February ceremony in protest.

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Director Spike Lee announced he would boycott. Photo: Getty

Actress Jada-Pinkett Smith (whose husband Will Smith missed out on a nod for Concussion) wrote on her Facebook page: “People of colour are always welcomed to give out awards … even entertain, but we are rarely recognised for our artistic accomplishments.”

Director Spike Lee has also announced he won’t be attending the ceremony in protest.

Following the uproar, Oscars director Cheryl Boon-Isaacs released a statement saying she was “heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion”, and called for “big changes”.

In the meantime, we decided there were enough brilliant black actors this year to put together an awards ceremony of their own.

So without further ado we present: The 2016 (Black) Oscars.

Nominations for Best Actor in a Leading Role

Will Smith (Concussion): For his role as a brilliant forensic neuropathologist in the dramatic thriller Concussion, Smith was nominated for a Golden Globe but missed an Oscar nod.

Jason Mitchell (Straight Outta Compton): Mitchell nailed notorious rapper Easy E in the critically-acclaimed musical biopic Straight Outta Compton.

Shameik Moore (Dope): Jamaican-descended Moore landed his breakout role in Dope playing Malcolm, a geek surviving life in gang-filled Los Angeles.

Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation): Just as Leonardo DiCaprio endured “living hell” on the set on The Revenant, Idris Elba gave it his all while filming this Netflix film about a West African nation besieged by civil war. Elba gained widespread critical acclaim for his role as the fierce leader of a group of mercenary fighters. 

And the Oscar goes to…

Michael B. Jordan (Creed): Exciting newcomer Jordan plays Adonis Johnson, a boxer who never knew his father, opposite a resurrected Sly Styllone as Rocky Balboa in this boxing drama. Stallone won a surprising Golden Globe for his role in the film, while Jordan had to settle for a nod from the National Society of Film Critics.

See Jordan in the trailer for Creed below:

Nominations for Best Actress in a Leading Role

Karidja Touré (Girlhood): Critics loved Touré as Marieme, a 16-year old who doesn’t want to end up cleaning hotels like her mother, and so becomes ensconced in a bad-girl gang on the streets of Paris.

Kitana Kiki Rodriguez (Tangerine): Transgender actress Rodriguez is a former sex worker and first-time actress, but gained rave reviews for her role as a sex worker trying to shed her pimp boyfriend.

And the Oscar goes to…

Angela Basset (Chi Raq): Spike Lee’s satirical musical drama is a wacky tale of Chicago’s women abstaining from sex in a bid to end horrific gang violence. Basset – previously Oscar-nominated for 1994’s What’s Love Got to Do With it – plays the virtuous Miss Helen, who has lost her 10-year old son to gun violence.

See Basset in Chi Raq‘s trailer, below:

Nominations for Best Actor in a Supporting Role

John Boyega (Star Wars: The Force Awakens): Newcomer John Boyega was thrust into the spotlight after playing Finn, a former storm trooper, in the latest Star Wars instalment.

Mark Coles Smith (Last Cab to Darwin): Indigenous Australian actor Smith was nominated for an AACTA award for playing Tilly, a young Aboriginal boy who joins terminally ill cab driver Michael Caton on a road trip.

Chiwetel Ejiofor (Secret in their Eyes): This English-language remake of the lauded Argentinian horror didn’t quite impress the critics, but Ejiofor succeeded as a frazzled FBI agent opposite Julia Roberts.

And the Oscar goes to…

Samuel L. Jackson (The Hateful Eight): Quentin Tarantino reacted to Samuel L. Jackson’s Oscar snub for his role as Major Marquis Warren by telling the ABC on Tuesday: “My only guess, frankly, is that they take him for granted. That would be my only guess.” Jackson’s role in Tarantino’s latest epic continues the pair’s famous film relationship.

See the trailer for the gritty Western below:

Nominations for Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Lupita Nyong’o (Star Wars: The Force Awakens): Mexican-Kenyan actress Nyong’o – who became the sixth black actress to win the supporting actress gong in 2013 – plays CGI character Maz Kanata perfectly in the latest Star Wars blockbuster.

Phylicia Rashad (Creed): Rashad has been lauded for her performance as Mary Anne Creed, a widow who lost her husband to boxing – and is understandably reticent about her son taking up the dangerous sport.

Tessa Thompson (Creed): In another praised performance from the boxing drama, Thompson plays Adonis’ love interest Bianca, an up-and-coming singer who falls for the boxer.

Zoe Kravitz (Dope): No longer just the daughter of a rock star, Kravitz has been slowly making her own mark on Hollywood, especially as a high-schooler in this Los Angeles drug-deal drama.

And the Oscar goes to…

Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Concussion): British actress Mbatha-Raw has graduated from playing Tish Jones in TV’s Dr Who to Will Smith’s wife Prema in the sports drama, Concussion. In the film, Prema is stalked and suffers a miscarriage after her husband tries to reveal the truth about brain damage in football.

See the Concussion trailer below:

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