Why Are #OscarsSoWhite?


The answer to the question in the headline is easy: because Academy voters are mostly white senior citizens (94 percent white, average age 63) and their taste tends to be pretty conventional for white folks born in 1952. At least that’s what all the critics say. This explains, they say, why a great film like Straight Outta Compton didn’t get nominated. A bunch of old white guys just aren’t going to be moved by a film about an angry group of black gangsta rappers.

But what about the critics themselves? According to Hayley Munguia of FiveThirtyEight, here are the 20 films from 2015 that showed up on the most “Best Of” lists. The movies in red got Oscar nods:

Where’s Straight Outta Compton? Not in the top 20.1 Apparently the critics are a bunch of old white guys too.

Next up: maybe Munguia will compile similar lists for the acting categories. Who did the critics love? Did Idris Elba make the top 20? Michael Jordan? Tessa Thompson? O’Shea Jackson Jr? Teyonah Parris? I’m curious about whether the critics ought to be examining themselves as much as they’re examining the Academy.

1Only two movies not in the top 20 got Best Picture nominations. Revenant may have gotten released too late to make many lists. And Bridge of Spies didn’t deserve to be in the top 20, but probably got nominated because everyone loves Tom Hanks.