Friday, January 15, 2010

African American Representation in the Oscars

I heard on the radio that the African American Film Critic Association had a meltdown over which of two actresses nominated for the their Best Actress award should receive the award. Apparently there were allegations of vote tampering and some members have left the group to form another group.

The NPR analysis of this "issue" proceeded down the predictable path that African Americans are "under represented" in the Academy Awards. I was skeptical.

Approximately 12-13% of the U S population are African American, statistics vary somewhat. That works out to about one in eight.

Since 2000 there have been 3 African American winners of the best actor OSCAR.

  • 2001 Denzel Washington

  • 2004 Jamie Foxx

  • 2006 Forrest Whitaker
Since 2000 there has been 1 African American winner of the best actress award.

  • 2001 Halle Barry
That works out to 4 in 18 possibilities or a little more than 22%, far in excess of the African American representation in the general population. If you go back through the 1990's when no African Americans won, the percentage is reduced to a little more than 10%, still within a reasonable distance of fair representation.

Is that progress or not, I don't know.

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