Viola Davis Gives Inequality in Award Shows a Slap in the Face

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Entertainment Weekly

Viola Davis breaks records at the Academy Awards.

  Singer Nick Jonas and actress, Priyanka Chopra announced the nominations for the Academy Awards Monday, March 15, and popular actress Viola Davis broke the record for most-nominated black actress at the Oscars. 

  This will be Davis’ fourth nomination; The 2021 category she landed a spot in is Best Actress for her role in Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom.  

  The actress spoke to Variety Magazine while anticipating her nomination, “For me, it’s a reflection of the lack of opportunities and access to opportunities people of color have had in this business.” Davis continued, “If me, going back to the Oscars four times in 2021, makes me the most nominated Black actress in history, that’s a testament to the sheer lack of material there has been out there for artists of color.” 

  The popular actress first received the title in 2017 with her nomination and win in the category, Best Supporting Actress, for her work in Fences. This was Davis’ first academy award. 

  Alongside other big named actresses in Hollywood like Whoopi Goldberg, Jennifer Hudson, and others, Davis is one of the eight black actresses to receive that same award since 1929. 

  Leading up to her accomplishment, she also obtained nominations in the same two categories for her roles in the films Doubt and The Help.

  Actress Halle Berry is currently the only Black woman to have won Best Actress since the inaugural ceremony in 1929. 

  Racial stereotypes have been occurring in major films in Hollywood for years now and Sanderson Sophomore Sarah Jaber says, “Racial stereotypes within movies are a major problem in Hollywood and oftentimes they make me uncomfortable.”

  According to a study Data Journalist Niall McCarthy did, in 2016 the percentage of non-white nominees at The Oscars never raised above 15 percent. 

  Member of the equity team Kalen Milton stated, “I feel like stereotypes could go two ways. The first way is openly acknowledging the stereotype, moving it forward or pointing out a flaw within those viewpoints.” He continued, “ The second one I feel most used and those cases are negative towards that group but I do feel as though they should be used for good and pointing out flaws within society.” 

  Hollywood, the movie industry, and awards shows including The Academy Awards clearly need to grow extensively in terms of inequality, and many people hope to see a change sooner rather than later.