Lack of diversity in Oscar nominations prompts women to challenge the status quo

World Today

The Academy Awards are just around the corner. This year the movie nominations have come under criticism for lacking diversity in color and gender.

CCTV America’s May Lee reported this story live from Los Angeles.

CCTV America's May Lee live at The Oscars

Diversity has a been a big issue for this year's Academy Awards. CCTV America's May Lee discusses how Hollywood should incorporate a global perspective to embody a global audience.

Source: Academy Awards database analyzed by CCTV America

It’s not hard to see the common denominator in this year’s Oscar race all the acting nominees are white and all the female movie directors were snubbed.

“If I had to boil it down to one word, I would say discrimination because we know better,” California State University-Long Beach professor Shira Tarrant said.

Professor and social critic Shira Tarrant echoed a growing sentiment regarding Hollywood’s lack of diversity.

Lack of diversity in Oscar nominations prompts women to challenge the status quo

The Academy Awards are just around the corner. This year the movie nominations have come under criticism for lacking diversity in color and gender. CCTV America’s May Lee reported this story from Los Angeles.

Much of the problem, insiders and experts say, stem from decision makers at the top, who are mostly white men.

“This isn’t to say that all white men are racist and sexist, but when there are mostly white men at the top, people think to replicate entertainment in their own image because they didn’t think to do anything else,” Tarrant said.

The proof is in the numbers. According to the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, only 12 percent of all leading roles were female in 2014. And only 7 percent of the directors of 2014’s 250 top grossing films were women.

The trend has forced women in Hollywood to literally take matters into their own hands.

Cathryn Michon is an example of someone who circumvented the studio system to make Muffin Top, a feature length comedy, whose motto is “Love yourself now, not 5 pounds from now.”

Cathryn not only wrote, produced, directed and starred in the movie, but she also partly funded the project using crowdfunding site Kickstarter.

“We reached 122% of our goal because this moviement for Muffin Top went viral, women mostly, but some men, really cared about it, wanted to be part of it,” Director, Actor and Filmmaker Cathryn Michon said.

The Moviement was coined by Muffin Top fans who supported the idea of having more films about women dealing with real issues, instead of the unrealistic images that bombard them daily.

Muffin Top co-star and Tony award winning actress Merissa Jaret Winokur had an epiphany after making the film.

“Yeah, I was in the movie as a fun actress, but then as an audience member I was like oh my God, I’m doing it all wrong,” Actress Merissa Jaret Winokur said. “Get off the spanx. I have my hair and my shoes, who needs undergarments!”

But a movie can’t survive on a powerful message alone. It has to make money.

Women in Hollywood said they’ve brought in money equal to and sometimes higher than their male counterparts and will keep doing it if they’re just given the chance.

“I will challenge my industry to get it right in order to make money. I’m not making you do it because it’s the nice thing to do. it’s just good business for you to do this,” Michon said.

Good business and good entertainment, which many filmmakers said should be the aim of a diverse and unbiased Hollywood.

The list of nominees in the leading categories:


“American Sniper”

“Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”


“The Grand Budapest Hotel”

“The Imitation Game”


“The Theory of Everything”



Steve Carell, “Foxcatcher”

Bradley Cooper, “American Sniper”

Benedict Cumberbatch, “The Imitation Game”

Michael Keaton, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Eddie Redmayne, “The Theory of Everything”


Marion Cotillard, “Two Days, One Night”

Felicity Jones, “The Theory of Everything”

Julianne Moore, “Still Alice”

Rosamund Pike, “Gone Girl”

Reese Witherspoon, “Wild”


Alejandro G. Inarritu, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

Bennett Miller, “Foxcatcher”

Wes Anderson, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Morten Tyldum, “The Imitation Game”


Robert Duvall, “The Judge”

Ethan Hawke, “Boyhood”

Edward Norton, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Mark Ruffalo, “Foxcatcher”

J.K. Simmons, “Whiplash”


Patricia Arquette, “Boyhood”

Laura Dern, “Wild”

Keira Knightley, “The Imitation Game”

Emma Stone, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Meryl Streep, “Into The Woods”


Jason Hall, “American Sniper”

Graham Moore, “The Imitation Game”

Paul Thomas Anderson, “Inherent Vice”

Anthony McCarten, “The Theory of Everything”

Damien Chazelle, “Whiplash”


Alejandro G. Inarritu, Nicolas Giacobone, Alexander Dinelaris Jr., and Armando Bo, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Richard Linklater, “Boyhood”

E. Max Frye and Dan Futterman, “Foxcatcher”

Wes Anderson and Hugo Guinness, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Dan Gilroy, “Nightcrawler”


“Ida” (Poland)

“Leviathan” (Russia)

“Tangerines” (Estonia)

“Timbuktu” (Mauritania)

“Wild Tales” (Argentina)


“Big Hero 6”

“The Boxtrolls”

“How to Train Your Dragon 2”

“Song of the Sea”

“The Tale of the Princess Kaguya”



“Finding Vivian Maier”

“Last Days in Vietnam”

“The Salt of the Earth”



“Everything is Awesome,” from “The Lego Movie”

“Glory,” from “Selma”

“Grateful,” from “Beyond the Lights”

“I’m Not Gonna Miss You,” from “Glen Campbell … I’ll Be Me”

“Lost Stars,” from “Begin Again”


Alexandre Desplat, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Alexandre Desplat, “The Imitation Game”

Hans Zimmer, “Interstellar”

Gary Yershon, “Mr. Turner”

Johann Johannsson, “The Theory of Everything”


Milena Canonero, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Mark Bridges, “Inherent Vice”

Colleen Atwood, “Into The Woods”

Anna B. Sheppard and Jane Clive, “Maleficent”

Jacqueline Durran, “Mr. Turner”


Emmanuel Lubezki, “Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)”

Robert Yeoman, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Lukasz Zal and Ryszard Lenczewski, “Ida”

Dick Pope, “Mr. Turner”

Roger Deakins, “Unbroken”


Bill Corso and Dennis Liddiard, “Foxcatcher”

Frances Hannon and Mark Coulier, “The Grand Budapest Hotel”

Elizabeth Yianni-Georgiou and David White, “Guardians of the Galaxy”


“Captain America: The Winter Soldier”

“Dawn of the Planet of the Apes”

“Guardians of the Galaxy”


“X-Men: Days of Future Past”

Q: Why are the Academy Awards called the Oscars?

A: According to the Oscars’ website:

Officially named the Academy Award of Merit, the statuette is better known by its nickname, Oscar. While the origins of the moniker aren’t clear, a popular story has it that upon seeing the trophy for the first time, Academy librarian (and eventual executive director) Margaret Herrick remarked that it resembled her Uncle Oscar. The Academy didn’t adopt the nickname officially until 1939, but it was widely known enough by 1934 that Hollywood columnist Sidney Skolsky used it in a piece referring to Katharine Hepburn’s first Best Actress win.