MSNBC host and civil rights activist Al Sharpton is calling for an emergency meeting of his eight-member diversity task force to discuss action against the Academy Awards after the movie “Selma” received only one Oscars nomination.
“The movie industry is like the Rocky Mountains, the higher you get, the whiter it gets,” Sharpton said with usual flair in a statement released Thursday after the announcement of Oscar nominations.
Many, including Sharpton, were outraged that none of the actors in “Selma,” a movie about the 1965 Voting Rights Act, were nominated for the golden statues.
David Oyelowo, who portrayed Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. in the movie, did not receive a nomination. Nor did director Ava DuVernay.
This was the second time since 2000 that no black actors or actresses were nominated for an Oscar.
“The lack of diversity in today’s Oscar nominations is appalling and while it is good that Selma was nominated for ‘Best Picture,’ it’s ironic that they nominated a story about the racial shutout around voting while there is a racial shutout around the Oscar nominations,” Sharpton continued in his statement.
“I have called an emergency meeting early next week in Hollywood with the task force to discuss possible action around the Academy Awards.”
Sharpton formed the task force last month after the hack and release of racially-themed emails sent between Sony Pictures executives. Sharpton called on Sony head Amy Pascal to address the issue of Hollywood’s lack of diversity.
“In the time of Staten Island and Ferguson, to have one of the most shutout Oscar nights in recent memory is something that is incongruous,” Sharpton told The New York Daily News on Thursday.
Sharpton’s outrage comes a year after the success of “12 Years a Slave,” which was based on the autobiography of Solomon Northup, a free black man who was captured and sold into slavery in the 1840s. The movie won Best Picture, and actress Lupita N’yongo won the award for Best Supporting Actress. Steve McQueen and Chiwetel Ejiofor were nominated for Best Director and Best Actor, respectively.