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Blacks, Latinos historically shut out of Oscars

Posted at 2:22 PM, Feb 26, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-26 22:26:26-05

John Uranday is a film writer and director from Bakersfield. He's Latino and believes he's unable to get through certain doors due to his ethnicity.

"I know the type of quality stuff I do have, but I know there's still some doors I'm not able to get through at the moment," said Uranday.

Although Uranday is from Bakersfield, he's been calling Hollywood home for over three years. After being kicked out of Bakersfield High School, it's a class he'd take at Vista High School, which Uranday refers to as "Vista P," that change his life.

"It was just a class on film. We learned about directors, producers, best actor, best actress," explained Uranday.

Shortly after taking this class, he began taking steps to become a writer and director. However, his time in the entertainment industry has been met with challenges.

"Opportunities are missed, because you're overlooked sometimes because you're Latino," said Uranday.

Last year, Mexican film director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu took home the Oscars in the Best Director category. He's also the director behind 'The Revenant,' and therefore, has scored another nomination.

In response, Uranday said, "This guy is taking film to a completely different level, it's amazing."

While this inspires him, he said there remains a disparity.

"I see more Latino diversity behind the camera for now, rather than in front of the camera, but I think it should be a balance amongst everybody," said Uranday.

This year marks the second year in a row that not a single actor or actress of color recieved a nomination from The Academy. 

"That's how the Oscars have pretty much been working for the last...pretty much since their establishment," said NAACP Bakersfield Chapter President, Patrick Jackson.

It's a hot topic that fueled the fire for social media, with the return of trending hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. To some, Chris Rock being named as host wasn't enough the calm the controversy. 

This topic was also discussed by Bakersfield Energy 95.3 Energy's Snacks and Mary G.

Snacks said Rock being named host "automatically makes you want t watch because he's already changed his whole script around."

Mary G added that they were "having that debate ourselves. We were like, African-Americans haven't won, so then I was like...well, let's Google it. Let's see how many have won compared to other races."

In 1940, history was made when Hattie McDaniel took home the Oscar for "Gone With The Wind." McDaniel became the first person of color to win the gold in any category.

Since McDaniel won, black women have been nominated 19 times in the Best Actress in a Supporting role category, with 6 wins.

When it comes to Hispanic women, 10 have been nominated, with 3 wins.

In 1964, Sidney Poitier became the first African-American to win in the Best Actor in a Leading role category for his role in "Lilies of the Field." It would take another 38 years until another black man would win, which was Denzel Washington winning in 2002 for "Training Day."

2002 was a historical year for The Oscars. This was the first and only year that two African-Americans won in the Leading Actor categories.

To this day, Halle Berry remains the only black woman to win for Best Actress in a Leading role, despite black women being nominated 10 times in the category.

Hispanic woman have been nominated 4 times for Leading Actress in a Supporting role, and one has yet to win.

Black men have been nominated 16 times in the supporting actor category, with 4 wins. For Hispanic men, there have been 8 nominations in 4 wins in The Oscars 88 year history. 

It's also worth noting that for Asian actors, 2 Asian men have won in the leading actor category, and one win each for supporting actor and actress.

"You would think there would be more diversity, more of a balance," said Uranday.

While it's easy to blame The Academy, Uranday said he feels it starts from the beginning.

"It goes up to the writers that are putting pen to paper and creating the films. That's where it starts...it starts right there," said Uranday.