Yesterday, the nominees for this year’s Oscars were unveiled and met the expectations of the majority of film buffs in many categories. There were however some glaring curve balls that started up a conversation about the nominations on various social media platforms. The most disappointing of all the outcomes was the absence of diversity in the acting nominees, all 20 of whom were white, this led to the resurrection of the Oscars are white hashtag from last year.
Michael B. Jordan or Tessa Thompson got no nominations for Creed, Idris Elba or Abraham Attah got no nomination for Beasts of No Nation, The cast of Straight Outta Compton was completely shut out and Will Smith received no nomination for Concussion.
Our focus lies mainly on Will Smith’s snub because of all the things that the movie represents to Africa. Concussion is a true story about the uphill efforts of Dr. Bennet Omalu, a Nigerian born/Pittsburgh based medical examiner who discovers a link between ex-NFL players who were dying and permanent brain trauma they suffered whilst playing and then practically goes head to head with them to cause them to take action.
The film which showcases a laudable feat by an African, defeating some widely held beliefs about Africans as well as bringing to the fore front a serious issue that preserves the health of many league players, was expected to pave the way for Will Smith’s return to the Oscars as a nominee. Will Smith who stretches himself, going as far as adopting a passable Nigerian accent, and delivering an excellent performance, also hosted many Academy Q&As to support Sony’s release which offered attendees a chance to compare the actor with the real life inspiration.
It is debatable whether this snub was as a result of the NFL’s influence, the Oscars diversity issue or the lukewarm reviews for the film but one thing is for sure, Africans should watch this film and feel proud of one of their own.