SAG Awards pushes for more ethnic diversity

Awards season and diversity don’t always go hand to hand as it often sees a landscape of “predominantly white” nominees and winners in The Academy Awards, Golden Globes, and Screen Actor’s Guild Awards. 

After a year of calls for social justice reform, the SAG Awards have broken the unsavory tradition of primarily white nominees while pushing for more diversity. 

Nominations of Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) performers in film and television have seen an increase for the 2021 SAG Awards; approximately double the number of nominees that were recognized the year before.

With four out of the five films nominated for best picture, “Da 5 Bloods,” “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Minari,” and “One Night in Miami,” that have an extensively BIPOC ensemble, the 2021 SAG Awards are leaping inclusion and diversity while steering away from their historical pattern of only having one or two best film nominees with primarily BIPOC casts.

In addition to this, HBO’s  “Lovecraft County” is breaking barriers by becoming the first series led by an almost entirely Black cast to be nominated for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.

As there is newfound recognition for BIPOC performers and creators in the industry, progress towards diversity in the industry is slow but far from over.

The SAG Awards always tend to fare better than their counterparts by having BIPOC nominees in the television aspect of accolades. There were three years, however, in which the film side saw no BIPOC nominees, however, in 1999, 2011 and 2015.

Around the same week as when the SAG Awards announced their nominations, the Golden Globes faced backlash due to a lack of diversity and raised questions on their focus on TV, music, and film as they missed an opportunity to recognize Black creators in the industry, a prime example being Michaela Coel’s universally claimed series, “I May Destroy You” getting snubbed from the Golden Globes.

On the other hand, “Promising Young Woman” a film with a predominately white cast with similar themes to “I May Destroy You” was able to cultivate four Golden Globe nominations.

“There’s still some fear around accepting the trust and accepting larger groups of Black people and I think that’s something that we’re going to have to break down,” Kristen Marston, culture and entertainment advocacy director at Color of Change, said in an article from Variety

Marston added that due to this, people in the industry tend to nominate a couple of BIPOC individuals with who they feel comfortable.

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