2020 Oscars nominees spark controversy

Dakoda Carlson

Despite a controversial nominee line up that lacked diversity history was made at the 92nd Academy Awards on Feb. 9 when the foreign film “Parasite” won best picture.

The list of nominees for the Oscars was released on Jan. 13 and immediately sparked criticism from movie goers.

Only a handful of the almost 100 nominees were people of color. There were just two nonwhite nominees in the acting categories, Cynthia Erivo and Antonio Banderas. Erivo received the best actress nod for her role as Harriet Tubman in the film “Harriet.” While Banderas was up for best actor for his role in the Spanish film “Pain and Glory.” Both of these nominees walked out empty handed with Renée Zellweger (“Judy”) and Joaquin Phoenix (“Joker”) taking home the wins for these categories.

Bucks students had varying opinions regarding the lack of diversity at the award show.

Jacob Callahan, a 20-year-old communications major from Feasterville said, “People say our films reflect us, society, surely our televised award ceremonies do as well. It seems boring watching white people win awards for 92 years straight. We’ve given up on reforming a film industry comprised of racism and sexism. We’re not breaking down the barriers to entry for POC nominees”

This award show has been active for over 90 years to captivate and acknowledge the talent within motion pictures. The Oscars have gained a reputation as one of the best awards shows of the year because of the legacy created by the movies nominated and won.

“Just nominating a person because they’re a non-white person is insulting and insinuates that they aren’t good enough to get the award for their work” said 22-year-old English major from Staten Island, Roseanne LoGuirato. “I don’t find it’s lack of diversity as disturbing as most deem it.”

This year’s nominees also lacked female representation. Once again of the five slots available not one woman was nominated for best director. Only five women in history have ever received a best director nomination. With Kathryn Bigelow as the only woman to win the category back in 2009 for “The Hurt Locker.”

“The lack of women personally makes the Oscars unappealing for me to watch. Young women are so valuable to future work forces because women bring different aspects to the table compared to men,” said Kelly Histand a 19-year-old engineering major from Doylestown.

Several of the critically acclaimed films of 2019 were directed by women such as, “Little Women”, “The Farwell” and “Hustlers.” However, the directorial work was not recognized for any of these films. Ultimately, history was still made in this category with Bong Joon Ho becoming the first South Korean filmmaker to win best director for his movie “Parasite.”


“Parasite” is a dark-comedy thriller that follows a lower-class family who integrates themselves into a wealthy and glamorous family. The film serves as a metaphor for materialism and has resonated with audiences across the globe.

“Parasite” also took home trophies for best adapted screen play, best international feature film and the coveted best picture. “Parasite” is the first foreign language film in Oscar history to win the best picture category. Box office successes such as the comic book film “Joker” and the World War I epic “1917” were also nominated for best picture.

“Parasite’s” several wins signify a change occurring in the film industry and could mean a step towards more diversity in future nominees.