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Diversity at the Oscars by the Numbers [Data Viz]

Will you be tuning in to the Oscars this year?

Many people won’t be. The reason, as you have already probably heard, is what people are calling an Oscars “whiteout”—all of the actors nominated are white. This is directly following last year’s awards which were also seriously lacking in the diversity department. People are tired of actors, directors and production workers of diverse backgrounds being snubbed.

While television has made great strides towards not only diverse casting, but also more diverse stories in recent years, mainstream film, and particularly film awards recognition, is lagging behind. People are playing close attention to the last two years, but what has the state of diversity at the Oscars looked like in general over the course of recent decades?


Venngage decided to take a look at the nominations and wins for the categories of Best Actor in a Leading Role, Best Actor in a Supporting Role, Best Actress in a Leading Role, and Best Actress in a Supporting Role from 1980 up until today.

What they found was that when compared to the racial breakdown of the US population (2010), the number of white actors who won Oscars showed a disproportionate overrepresentation. Oscar winners for leading roles were 93% white, 6% were black and 1% asian. There were no hispanic or First Nations winners at all.

Only five persons of color who have won Best Actor/Actress in a Leading Role since 1980. Four of them are men—Forest Whitaker (as Idi Amin in The Last King of Scotland), Jamie Foxx (as Ray Charles in Ray), Denzel Washington (as Alonzo in Training Day), and Ben Kingsley (as Gandhi in Gandhi), and only one of them is a woman, Halle Berry (as Leticia in Monster’s Ball).

This infographic illustrates the lack if diversity at the Oscars. An interactive version of the infographic can be found on the Venngage blog, along with the full study.


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