Issa Rae made it clear that she’s still rooting for everybody Black, despite the Motion Picture Academy’s apparent snub of Black actors and filmmakers.
On Monday, the nominations for the 92nd annual Academy Awards were announced and few, if any nods were given for performances or production work by Blacks in the film industry, with one notable exception being Cynthia Erivo for her performance in Harriet. She was the single person of color in a field of 20 acting nominations.
READ MORE: 5 SHADIEST snubs of the Academy Awards
During the live broadcast in Los Angeles, a visibly disappointed Rae read off the names of five men in the Best Director category — Martin Scorsese for The Irishman, Todd Phillips for Joker, Sam Mendes for 1917, Quentin Tarantino for Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, and Bong Joon Ho for Parasite.
Black actors, Black films and Black directors received very little love from the Academy and even Little Women director Greta Gerwig who was widely considered a shoe-in for the category was snubbed along with other female directors.
Upon announcing those nominations, Rae deadpanned to the camera, “Congratulations to those men,” the audience giggled in response to her coy, but well-understood message to viewers.
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Issa Rae gives the best reaction after not a single woman was nominated for Best Directing at the 2020 Oscars. #OscarNoms
— The Pop Hub (@ThePopHub) January 13, 2020
Rae’s quip not only elicited laughs from those in the theater where the nominations took place it also caught the eye of movie buffs on social media who applauded her for saying what many were thinking.
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“Congratulations to those men.” – Issa Rae introducing the Best Director category is a MOOD. #OscarNoms pic.twitter.com/ihxnw0E6VJ
— Kathleen Newman-Bremang (@KathleenNB) January 13, 2020
Issa Rae’s “congratulations to those men” has strong Keke Palmer vibes and I’m here for it
— David (@randomfurlong) January 13, 2020
But Twitter isn’t the only place people are giving the Academy the side-eye over the nominations.
Tom O’Neil, who runs the awards prediction site Gold Derby, described the snub of people of color during nominations as an ongoing problem.
“The Oscars is a good annual cheat sheet on what Hollywood is doing,” O’Neil told Yahoo. “Once a year, we get a snapshot of the real quality movies, we see there’s an absence of diversity and we get outraged by it. The problem needs to be solved all year-round on an ongoing basis.”
Two of the most talked-about oversights were Lupita Nyong’o for her doppelganger performance in Us, and Eddie Murphy who brought the story of his comedic idol Rudy Ray Moore to life in Dolemite Is My Name.
But among Black recognitions during the nominations, the song “Stand Up” from Harriet, got a nod for Best Original Song. Matthew A. Cherry was nominated for Best Animated Short for Hair Love. In addition, American Factory, produced by Barack and Michelle Obama for Netflix was nominated for Best Documentary