If you think Robert De Niro’s leading turn in The Irishman was the biggest snub from this year’s Academy Award nominations then the chances are pretty good you are a white bloke.
Either that or you haven’t seen Jennifer Lopez in Hustlers, or a number of last year’s best films that were directed by women.
To a person of colour, the nominations in the four acting categories must look whiter than Olaf’s unmentionables, which, ironically, were unmentioned in the Best Animated Feature category, thanks to the Academy also snubbing Frozen II.
The only non-white performance recognised this year was that of Cynthia Erivo, who earned a Best Actress nomination for Harriet, a movie in which she plays, wait for it, a real-life slave who became an abolitionist — awkward.
Five years after a conspicuously pale array of nominees prompted the #OscarsSoWhite movement, the Academy has worked to increase diversity within its ranks, going from people of colour representing a mere five per cent of voters in 2015 to 16 per cent last year.
But it’s hard for people to vote on what doesn’t exist, and diversity in the films Hollywood is making remains tantalisingly elusive.
After movies about people of colour took home Best Picture gongs in two of the past three years (Moonlight and Green Book), just one of the nine films nominated for Best Picture this year — Bong Joon-ho’s stunning South Korean film, Parasite — has a cast that isn’t almost exclusively white.
That said, it is hard to fathom how the Academy couldn’t find room for J-Lo, right, in the Best Supporting Actress category but gave a nod to Scarlett Johansson and her terrible German accent in JoJo Rabbit.
And on what planet is Charlize Theron’s weird impersonation of Fox News anchor Megyn Kelly in the dismal Bombshell more worthy of recognition than Awkwafina’s Golden Globe-winning performance in The Farewell, above right, or Lupita Nyong’o’s SAG-nominated turn in Us?
Even Eddie Murphy, left, who is doubly damned by the Oscars’ historic bias against African Americans and comedic actors, should feel aggrieved his Golden Golden-nominated portrayal of Blaxploitation star Rudy Ray Moore in Dolamite Is My Name was overlooked.
If you’re a woman, on the other hand, or give the scarcest regard for gender equality, then the biggest Oscars snub this year was undoubtedly in the Best Director category.
To be fair, this isn’t anything new — just five women have ever been nominated in that category in the 92-year history of the Academy Awards, with only one, Kathryn Bigelow (The Hurt Locker), winning it.
While this probably speaks volumes about gender diversity within the Academy’s directors branch — the small group tasked with selecting nominees for the rest of the Academy to vote on — the absence of female Best Director nominations is particularly galling after a year in which some of the very best movies were made by women.
Greta Gerwig’s brilliant adaptation of Little Women was a hit at the box office, and received six Oscar nominations, but the Academy couldn’t squeeze Gerwig, inset, into a Best Director category that recognised the work of Martin Scorsese (The Irishman), Quentin Tarantino (Once Upon a Time ... in Hollywood), Joon-ho, Sam Mendes (1917) and Todd Phillips (Joker).
Looking beyond Gerwig, the most obvious snub, one can also mount a strong case for directors Marielle Heller (A Beautiful Day in the Neighbourhood), Lulu Wang (The Farewell) and Celine Sciamma, the last of whom made what some critics consider the best film of the year in Portrait of a Lady on Fire.
The argument against their inclusion centres solely on which male director you’d leave out (a straight swap of Gerwig for Phillips in my book), but maybe its time to expand the number of Best Director nominations in the same way the number of Best Picture nods were increased from five to as many as 10.