The lack of diversity in the 2016 Oscar nominations has been no secret, but it has been massively emphasised by the number of non-white winners at the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards last night.
Of the 13 categories at the 2016 SAGs there were non-white nominees in seven of them, and it was nearly a clean sweep of victories with six of those seven awards going to either a non-white actor, or ensemble.
The success did not go unnoticed by Idris Elba, who openly acknowledged the high number of non-white nominees early in the ceremony.
As reported by Mashable, the English actor said:
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Diverse TV!
Uzo Aduba was the first black winner on the night taking Best Female Actor in a Lead Role for her role as ‘Crazy Eyes’ Suzanne Warren on Orange is the New Black.
Aduba was back on stage again with the rest of the cast from the hit Netflix series as they also claimed the award for Best Ensemble, Comedy.
Elba himself also went home with two awards, first receiving a SAG for his part in Beasts of No Nation, and then he claimed Male Actor in a Miniseries/TV Movie for Luther.
Queen Latifah and Viola Davis were the other black award winners. Latifah won Best Female Actor in a Miniseries/TV Movie for her part in Bessie, while Davis took Best Female Actor in a Lead Role, Drama for her role in How to Get Away With Murder.
Davis was reported by Mashable as speaking backstage about the controversy surrounding the Oscars.
We’ve become a society of trending topics. Diversity is not a trending topic. I’ve always considered myself an actor, since I got my acting card in 1988. I never put any limitations on myself. I always felt I could play any character in Chekhov, in Shakespeare, in [Anne] Ridler, in August Wilson — I see myself as an actor, no matter what is going on in the business, I will find a way to practice my art and all the actors of colour I know don’t place any limitations on themselves regardless of what’s going on with the Academy, regardless of what’s going on in Hollywood.
The award that would have completed the sweep was for Film Ensemble, but neither Straight Outta Compton or Beasts of No Nation emerged victorious, with the honour going to Spotlight instead.
So, now we have seen undeniably talented non-white actors claim awards ahead of their white counterparts, the whole ‘they aren’t good enough for the Oscars’ argument should definitely be put to bed.
An NCTJ Journalist with an MA in Sports Journalism, Kieron is an experienced social media journalist who has worked in the industry since 2015. His experience includes work with ITN, the MEN, WISH/WIRE/TOWER FM, and 8:50 Sports Digest… not forgetting his time at ASDA.