The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced their nominations for the 95th annual Academy Awards, and the selection of 2022 films and filmmaking has once again snubbed Black films, filmmakers, and lead actors in favor of mostly white nominees. Acclaimed and previously anticipated major contenders like The Woman King (the best film of 2022 in my estimation) and Till were completely ignored and received zero nominations.
I realize this conversation will inherently make many if not most of the nominees uncomfortable, specifically the white nominees who want to celebrate their nomination and be proud of their own work. But changing these things starts with talking about these things and calling out when it happens, and that is inherently going to make a lot of white people uncomfortable but it also inherently has to happen and white people have to understand their own discomfort in this context is nothing compared to the discomfort forced upon Black filmmakers — and more broadly all marginalized communities — who are constantly excluded and underrepresented, and then constantly dismissed or debated when they complain about it and point it out.
This won’t change unless and until effort is really made at all levels, consistently, to change it. When staffing, when hiring crews, when assembling teams, when deciding on stories to tell and put on the screen, when casting, there has to be an intention to ensure diversity, to ensure effort is exerted to change things. Every time, yes. Because so far, it almost never is prioritized or attempted, so almost every time it doesn’t happen, and we wind up with results like this year.
The extent of whiteness in the Oscar nominations this year is glaringly obvious, as is the exclusion of most Black artists in the film industry. It’s a combination of lack of anything approaching adequate representation within filmmaking overall, and an equal lack of representation or intent in decision-making processes, and lack of attention or intent or representation in these awards. At every level, cinema is failing in this regard. And the fact is, everyone knows it’s true, it keeps coming up and “efforts” keep being made one and off when it comes up, but not enough people in the right positions care enough to use their positions and power to help really change it.
That it happens at all is unacceptable and offensive. That it happens right now, amid a rising tide of white supremacy and fascism literally threatening the survival of our society and civilization, is an insult to the notion of selecting the best cinematic arts to represent their moments and eras. It’s simply shocking to see this degree of majority-white majority-male domination of nominees in modern times, despite all of the repeatedly posturing at self-reflection and addressing systemic obstacles and inequalities.
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But don’t take my word for it, let the nominations speak for themselves. Here is my breakdown of the representation — or severe lack thereof — in this year’s Oscar nominations, including breakdowns for racial diversity and gender. I do not presume to know 100% the gender identification or sexual orientation of any nominees, and am basing these numbers off the data available to me when looking them up, and I’ll be happy to correct any errors sent my way by those listed in the nominations. Also, I don’t specifically point out certain examples of diversity that still demonstrate a white-skinned privilege, but it’s certainly a factor as well in a couple of examples.
In the Best Picture nominations, there are 10 films and 29 producers spotlighted. Of those 29 nominated producers, there are six women nominees (all of them white) and two Asian-American nominees. Meaning 21 of those 29 nominees are white men, 27 total nominees are white, and 23 total nominees are men.
Here are the nominees for Best Picture…
- All Quiet On the Western Front, Malte Grunert, Producer
- Avatar: The Way of Water, James Cameron and Jon Landau, Producers
- The Banshees of Inisherin, Graham Broadbent, Pete Czernin, and Martin McDonagh, Producers
- Elvis, Baz Luhrmann, Catherine Martin, Gail Berman, Patrick McCormick, and Schuyler Weiss, Producers
- Everything Everywhere All At Once, Daniel Kwan, Daniel Scheinert, and Jonathan Wang, Producers
- The Fabelmans, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Steven Spielberg and Tony Kushner, Producers
- Tár, Todd Field, Alexandra Milchan and Scott Lambert, Producers
- Top Gun: Maverick, Tom Cruise, Christopher McQuarrie, David Ellison, and Jerry Bruckheimer, Producers
- Triangle of Sadness, Erik Hemmendorff and Philippe Bober, Producers
- Women Talking, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner and Frances McDormand, Producers
There are six filmmakers nominated in the Best Director category, because two co-directors are nominated for one film. Of those six nominees, one is Asian-American and the other five are white. All six are men, including five white men.
Here are the nominees for Best Director…
- Martin McDonagh, The Banshees of Inisherin
- Daniel Kwan and Daniel Scheinert, Everything Everywhere All At Once
- Steven Spielberg, The Fabelmans
- Todd Field, Tár
- Ruben Östlund, Triangle of Sadness
There are five lead actors nominated for Best Actor, all of them white men.
Here are the five nominees for Best Actor…
- Austin Butler, Elvis
- Colin Farrell, The Banshees of Inisherin
- Brendan Fraser, The Whale
- Paul Mescal, Aftersun
- Bill Nighy, Living
There are five lead actors nominated for Best Actress. Four of the five nominees are white women, and one woman is of Chinese descent.
Here are the nominees for Best Actress…
- Cate Blanchett, Tár
- Ana De Armas, Blonde
- Andrea Riseborough, To Leslie
- Michelle Williams, The Fabelmans
- Michelle Yeoh, Everything Everywhere All at Once
It is in the nominees for supporting performances that we finally start to see a bit more diversity in the overall excessively white nominations.
Best Supporting Actor nominees are 2/5 white, with one Black nominee, one Vietnamese-American nominee, and one Latina nominee.
Here are the nominees for Best Supporting Actor…
- Brendan Gleeson, The Banshees of Inisherin
- Brian Tyree Henry, Causeway
- Judd Hirsch, The Fabelmans
- Barry Keoghan, The Banshees of Inisherin
- Ke Huy Quan, Everything Everywhere All at Once
Best Supporting Actress is the most diverse field, with two white women nominated, one Black woman nominated, and two Asian-American woman nominated.
Here are the nominees for Best Supporting Actress…
- Angela Bassett, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
- Hong Chau, The Whale
- Kerry Condon, The Banshees of Inisherin
- Jamie Lee Curtis, Everything Everywhere All at Once
- Stephanie Hsu, Everything Everywhere All at Once
The supporting performance categories are two of the very few categories demonstrating any notable diversity. So if those last ten nominees eased your mind a bit, I’m afraid the feeling will be short-lived.
Moving to Best Cinematography, there are five nominees. Four of the five are men, and four of them are white men. One is of Iranian-French descent.
Here are the nominees for Best Cinematography…
- James Friend, All Quiet on the Western Front
- Darius Khondji, Bardo, False Chronicle of a Handful of Truths
- Mandy Walker, Elvis
- Roger Deakins, Empire of Light
- Florian Hoffmeister, Tár
So far, we wind up with 29 producers nominated, six directors nominated, 20 actors nominated, and five cinematographers nominated. Of these 60 nominees, a total of 50 are are white, two are Black, seven are Asian, and one is Persian-French.
If we exclude the acting categories that are inherently divided into men-only and women-only categories, then of the total 40 nominees I’ve looked at so far for Best Picture (producers), Best Director, and Best Cinematographer, only seven are women.
Next up, there are five films nominated for Best Adapted Screenplay, with a total of 11 individual nominees. One of those nominees is of Japanese descent and the other 10 are white. Two of the nominees are women and the other nine are men.
Here are the nominees for Best Adapted Screenplay…
- All Quiet On the Western Front, screenplay by Edward Berger, Lesley Paterson, & Ian Stokell
- Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery, written by Rian Johnson
- Living, written by Kazuo Ishiguro
- Top Gun: Maverick, screenplay by Ehren Kruger and Eric Warren Singer and Christopher McQuarrie; story by Peter Craig and Justin Marks
- Women Talking, screenplay by Sarah Polley
There are five films nominated for Best Original Screenplay, with a total of seven individual nominees. One of them is Asian-American. The other six are white. All seven nominees are men.
Here are the nominees for Best Original Screenplay…
- The Banshees of Inisherin, written by Martin McDonagh
- Everything Everywhere All At Once, written by Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert
- The Fabelmans, written by Steven Spielberg & Tony Kushner
- Tár, written by Todd Field
- Triangle of Sadness, written by Ruben Östlund
So of the total 10 films nominated for their screenplays, there were 18 total individual nominees. Two of the nominees are of Asian descent and the other 16 are white. Two of the nominees are women and the other 16 are men. All of the nominated women are white. Two of the nominated men are of Asian descent and the other 14 are white.
In the category of Best Film Editing, there are five nominated films and six total individual nominees. All six nominees are white. One of the nominees is a woman, and the other five are men.
Here are the nominees for Best Film Editing…
- The Banshees of Inisherin, Mikkel E.G. Nielsen
- Elvis, Matt Villa and Jonathan Redmond
- Everything Everywhere All At Once, Paul Rogers
- TÁR, Monika Willi
- Top Gun: Maverick, Eddie Hamilton
The five movies nominated for Best Sound include a total of 24 individual nominees. All 24 nominees are white. One nominee is a woman and the other 23 are men.
Here are the nominees for Best Sound…
- All Quiet On the Western Front, Viktor Prášil, Frank Kruse, Markus Stemler, Lars Ginzel, and Stefan Korte
- Avatar: The Way of Water, Julian Howarth, Gwendolyn Yates Whittle, Dick Bernstein, Christopher Boyes, Gary Summers, and Michael Hedges
- The Batman, Stuart Wilson, William Files, Douglas Murray, and Andy Nelson
- Elvis, David Lee, Wayne Pashley, Andy Nelson and Michael Keller
- Top Gun: Maverick, Mark Weingarten, James H. Mather, Al Nelson, Chris Burdon, and Mark Taylor
Looking at nominees for Best Costume Design, all five nominees are women. Three of the nominees are white, one is Black, and one is Asian-American.
Here are the nominees for Best Costume Design…
- Mary Zophres, Babylon
- Ruth Carter, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever
- Catherine Martin, Elvis
- Shirley Kurata, Everything Everywhere All At Once
- Jenny Beavan, Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris
Of the five film nominations for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, there are 13 people nominated. One of the nominees is Black and one of the nominees is Asian-American. The other 11 nominees are white. Six nominees are men and seven nominees are women. Three of the five nominated films have multiple all-white nominees. Of the two films with racially diverse nominees, one is 50% Black and 50% white, the other is 33+% Asian-American and 66+% white.
Here are the nominees for Best Makeup and Hairstyling…
- All Quiet On the Western Front, Heike Merker and Linda Eisenhamerová
- The Batman, Naomi Donne, Mike Marino, and Mike Fontaine
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Camille Friend, and Joel Harlow
- Elvis, Mark Coulier, Jason Baird, and Aldo Signoretti
- The Whale, Adrien Morot, Judy Chin, and Anne Marie Bradley
In the category of Best International Feature Film, four of the five nominated movies are from Western European countries and one is Argentina.
Here are the nominees for Best International Feature Film…
- All Quiet On the Western Front, Germany
- Argentina, 1985, Argentina
- Close, Belgium
- EO, Poland
- The Quiet Girl, Ireland
I stopped checking the demographics of nominees at this point, because a glance told me there were a few categories that are exceptions but overall the Oscar nominees continue to be primarily white and primarily men. But the rest of the Oscar nominations are below, and you can look at them and see where the trends continue.
Here are the nominees for Best Documentary Feature…
- All That Breathes, Shaunak Sen, Aman Mann and Teddy Leifer
- All the Beauty and the Bloodshed, Laura Poitras, Howard Gertler, John Lyons, Nan Goldin, and Yoni Golijov
- Fire of Love, Sara Dosa, Shane Boris and Ina Fichman
- A House Made of Splinters, Simon Lereng Wilmont and Monica Hellström
- Navalny Daniel Roher, Odessa Rae, Diane Becker, Melanie Miller, and Shane Boris
Here are the nominees for Best Animated Feature Film…
- Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio, Guillermo del Toro, Mark Gustafson, Gary Ungar, and Alex Bulkley
- Marcel the Shell With Shoes On, Dean Fleischer Camp, Elisabeth Holm, Andrew Goldman, Caroline Kaplan, and Paul Mezey
- Puss In Boots: The Last Wish, Joel Crawford and Mark Swift
- The Sea Beast, Chris Williams and Jed Schlanger
- Turning Red, Domee Shi and Lindsey Collins
Here are the nominees for Best Visual Effects…
- All Quiet On the Western Front, Frank Petzold, Viktor Müller, Markus Frank, and Kamil Jafar
- Avatar: The Way of Water, Joe Letteri, Richard Baneham, Eric Saindon, and Daniel Barrett
- The Batman, Dan Lemmon, Russell Earl, Anders Langlands, and Dominic Tuohy
- Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Geoffrey Baumann, Craig Hammack, R. Christopher White, and Dan Sudick
- Top Gun: Maverick, Ryan Tudhope, Seth Hill, Bryan Litson, and Scott R. Fisher
Here are the nominees for Best Production Design…
- All Quiet On the Western Front, Production Design: Christian M. Goldbeck; Set Decoration: Ernestine Hipper
- Avatar: The Way of Water, Production Design: Dylan Cole and Ben Procter; Set Decoration: Vanessa Cole
- Babylon, Production Design: Florencia Martin; Set Decoration: Anthony Carlino
- Elvis, Production Design: Catherine Martin and Karen Murphy; Set Decoration: Bev Dunn
- The Fabelmans, Production Design: Rick Carter; Set Decoration: Karen O’Hara
Here are the nominees for Best Original Score…
- All Quiet On the Western Front, Volker Bertelmann
- Babylon, Justin Hurwitz
- The Banshees of Inisherin, Carter Burwell
- Everything Everywhere All At Once, Son Lux
- The Fabelmans, John Williams
Here are the nominees for Best Original Song…
- “Applause,” from Tell It like a Woman; Music and Lyric by Diane Warren
- “Hold My Hand,” from Top Gun: Maverick; Music and Lyric by Lady Gaga and BloodPop
- “Lift Me Up,” from Black Panther: Wakanda Forever; Music by Tems, Rihanna, Ryan Coogler, and Ludwig Goransson; Lyric by Tems and Ryan Coogler
- “Naatu Naatu,” from RRR; Music by M.M. Keeravaani; Lyric by Chandrabose
- “This Is Life,” from Everything Everywhere All at Once; Music by Ryan Lott, David Byrne, and Mitski; Lyric by Ryan Lott and David Byrne
Here are the nominees for Best Live-Action Short…
- An Irish Goodbye, Tom Berkeley and Ross White
- Ivalu, Anders Walter and Rebecca Pruzan
- Le Pupille, Alice Rohrwacher and Alfonso Cuarón
- Night Ride, Eirik Tveiten and Gaute Lid Larssen
- The Red Suitcase, Cyrus Neshvad
Here are the nominees for Best Documentary Short…
- The Elephant Whisperers, Kartiki Gonsalves and Guneet Monga
- Haulout, Evgenia Arbugaeva and Maxim Arbugaev
- How Do You Measure a Year?, Jay Rosenblatt
- The Martha Mitchell Effect, Anne Alvergue and Beth Levison
- Stranger at the Gate, Joshua Seftel and Conall Jones
Here are the nominees for Best Animated Short…
- The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and the Horse, Charlie Mackesy and Matthew Freud
- The Flying Sailor, Amanda Forbis and Wendy Tilby
- Ice Merchants, João Gonzalez and Bruno Caetano
- My Year of Dicks, Sara Gunnarsdóttir and Pamela Ribon
- An Ostrich Told Me the World Is Fake and I Think I Believe It, Lachlan Pendragon
And there you have it, dear readers. The Oscar nominations for films of 2022, a display of the sad state of affairs in our modern society and cinema when it comes to true concern and attention and effort at representation, diversity, and equality.
Check back for more coverage of films, box office, and awards, dear readers.
(This article has been updated to adjust the number of white actresses nominated, to note Ana de Armas is Latina.)
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