Oscar Voters Discuss 'Straight Outta Compton' Snub: 'My Bet is Most Academy Members Didn't See It'
All eyes are on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences after the Oscar nominations were announced last week, causing an online frenzy over the list's lack of black talent and spawning the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. Among the most notable snubs included the N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton, with only its two white screenwriters receiving nominations.
While many A-listers including Jada Pinkett Smith, Spike Lee and Snoop Dogg have shunned the Academy Awards, Oscar voters have offered their own reasoning for why the blockbuster hit about the controversial rap crew didn't land more nods including Best Picture.
"Nobody can accuse the Academy of being racist -- but they can be accused of being out of touch with the younger generation," said a director, one of the six anonymous Academy members who shared their thoughts with EW. "Straight Outta Compton is a masterpiece, probably the best biopic since Amadeus -- but many if not most of the Academy can't fathom songs like 'Fuck tha Police.' I know many members who wouldn't even see the film because it represented a culture that they detest or, more accurately, they assume they detest."
The director continues, "Younger people, even those under 50, are not only fans of the music, but much more willing to try to empathize with the world depicted in the movie. When the Academy expands to an even younger demo, movies like Straight Outta Compton will stand a chance."
A producer said, "If we’re being honest, my bet is most Academy members didn’t see it," while a publicist went the numbers route, saying, "We have no way of knowing why anything with a lot of support doesn't get in. Compton could have received 2,500 votes in the fourth or fifth slot, but if it doesn’t have at least 350 first-place votes, it gets ignored."
The hyphenate, described as a writer-director-producer, painted a bigger picture. "I think employment is a bigger problem than awards, actually. An all-white ballot is the symptom; low minority hiring is the disease. Those of us in the industry, voters or not, need to do better!"