Road trip Hollywood: Year three, the Oscars

Lapacazo Sandoval | 1/21/2016, 12:39 p.m.
“It’s a fluke, it’s because of ‘12 Years a Slave’ that the Amsterdam News was approved. Wait. They won’t invite ...
Oscar Awards Flickr

“It’s a fluke, it’s because of ‘12 Years a Slave’ that the Amsterdam News was approved. Wait. They won’t invite you back, they don’t need ‘you’—that’s how they view Black media and Black audiences.”

The above is a summery of “off the record” comments made to me by Hollywood insiders of every hue. That was 2014.

It’s 2016, and we are again invited to cover the Oscars, our third in a row, but the true feelings of industry insiders have not changed. So the question looms—and it should—will this attitude have a permanent change, if so, when, and if so, how?

The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite from 2014 is again, unhappily, trending again around the nominations. It’s here that a reminder that host Chris Rock, who is returning to host the 88th Oscars in 2016, is an intelligent and vocal man of color, so stay tuned, the witty comments are coming.

It’s here again that one of the Oscars’ producers is African-American and Oscar-nominated producer-director Reginald Hudlin, who is working with Emmy-winning live television producer David Hill. And of course, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs was re-elected and is the standing president of the Academy.

Back to the lack of diversity in the nominations. Many experts were predicting that the $100 million box office hit “Straight Outta Compton,” which was also well-reviewed, would squeak into a Best Picture nomination. Despite months of early voter campaigning, the film received one nomination in the category of Best Original Screenplay (and for what it’s worth, the writers were white).

Many voters are scratching their heads because actor Idris Elba was expected to land on the Best Supporting Actor list, not only because of his excellent performance but because of the

hefty Netflix marketing push for “Beasts of No Nation.” Some insiders have suggested that the lost spot for Elba was because of favored actor Sylvester Stallone, who came roaring back this year in his role in “Creed,” for which he won a Golden Globe. The very wonderful “Creed” was in the hands of Ryan Coogler, who is in pre-production mode for Marvel’s “Black Panther.”

Facts are facts. The only Academy nods for two of the year’s biggest films about African-American characters went to white people. Don’t shot the messenger, again, we, the Amsterdam News, are approved to cover the Oscars for the third year.

As other people of color look at the lack of diveristy from their side of the fences, it’s an important fact to note that Oscar winner Alejandro G. Inarritu, who won for Best Director and Best Picture last year for “Birdman,” is Mexican. Inside the winners’ room at the Oscars, he frequently switched to Spanish, which delighted the Spanish-speaking media covering the event, showing his pride for his culture and language.

He was also extremely friendly and open with me after the 2014 Oscars and spoke with passion about the film “The Revenant,” which he was making last year. This year he was nominated for “The Revenant.”