Two weeks after publishing a striking cover featuring the extinguished torch of the Statue of Liberty, the New Yorker continues to provoke with a new cover honoring the influx of black artists in this year’s list of Academy Award nominees.
Eric Drooker’s bold design, titled #OscarsNotSoWhite, depicts the face of the Oscars’ famous Gold Knight statuette adjusted to resemble the face of a black woman. After two years of the acting categories consisting entirely of white actors, this year’s Oscars nominees list includes black actors Viola Davis, Denzel Washington, Naomie Harris, Mahershala Ali, Octavia Spencer and Ruth Negga.
— Mirko Forgione (@MKForgione) February 20, 2017
The diversity expands to other categories. Barry Jenkins is up for Best Director for his work on “Moonlight,” while that film’s c0-editor, Joi McMillon, became the first black woman to be nominated in the Best Film Editing category. Four of the five films in the Best Documentary Feature category were directed by black filmmakers, including “Selma” director Ava DuVernay, who’s behind the Netflix’s “13th.”
This week’s edition of the New Yorker also features a story by Michael Schulman on the Academy’s attempt to overcome #OscarsSoWhite. The article opens with a recounting of Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs’ reaction to last year’s controversy.
Following the release of the 2016 nominees, Isaacs and the Academy implemented new rules that gave Academy membership to a younger, more diverse set of filmmakers. They also put new restrictions on who would be allowed to vote for the Oscars. Now, only members who have been active in the film industry in the previous ten years are allowed to vote, with exceptions granted to anyone who has been active for over 30 years or has ever been nominated for an Oscar.
The move was praised by #OscarsSoWhite activists, but criticized by longtime Academy members. Patricia Resnick, director of the 1980 feminist film “9 to 5,” told the New Yorker that that she resented being reduced to “emeritus status” to help the Academy deal with a “publicity nightmare.”
“I’d really like to see them use their muscle to push the studios to include more diverse voices,” she said.
The Oscars issue of the New Yorker hits newsstands Monday.