In 1996, the same year "Braveheart" won five Oscars, Academy Award- and Grammy-winning producer Quincy Jones was the first African American to produce the telecast, which he dubbed the "crown jewel of all the awards shows." Jones worked side-by-side with second-time host and good friend Whoopi Goldberg on the ceremony.
Despite having a black producer and host, race was a timely topic of conversation at the 68th Academy Awards most likely due to the fact that there was only one black nominee that year, live-action short film director Dianne Houston. Tinseltown wasn't happy about it either, and prominent figures such as Rev. Jesse Jackson and the Rainbow Coalition staged protests at ABC affiliates nationwide to fight "race exclusion and cultural violence" within the motion picture industry.
Here's what a they told The Times' about race in Hollywood in the 1990s.
It hurts, but it's been hurting a long time. In a way, all of this kind of just reflects what is happening in the country. I mean, you know you are in trouble when you have a [political] party which is going after polarization.
Dodge Lady Gaga. Collect Golden Globes. Find the black Oscar nominee.
Winning an Academy Award, it proves, can be nearly an impossible task, at least according to the lighthearted Web game "Leo's Red Carpet Rampage." The game puts players in control of a mini, vintage-style Leonardo DiCaprio in a quest for an Oscar.
Abel Tesfaye, known as the Weeknd, is one of the few nominees of color for the 2016 Academy Awards. He received a nomination for “Earned It,” which appeared on the soundtrack for “Fifty Shades of Grey.”
In an exclusive interview with the L.A. Times, The Weeknd addressed the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.
You know, music is so diverse. My fans couldn’t even put a face or color or anything to my music. The same with film, it’s such a diverse thing. Every movie you see now is inspired by diversity. So it’s unfortunate.... but I think it’s much deeper than the academy or deeper than the film or music industry. It’s an issue that the nation has been dealing with, and I’m glad this has sparked a conversation ... it needed to happen. And good for the academy for trying to make the new changes.
Famed director and three-time Oscar winner Steven Spielberg went on the record with The Hollywood Reporter to lend his voice to the #OscarsSoWhite conversation. During an episode of the magazine's "Awards Chatter" podcast, he said he was surprised at the snub of "Straight Outta Compton" for best picture and "Beasts of No Nation's" Idris Elba for best supporting actor.
Countless celebrities have thrown their voices into the conversation on diversity in Hollywood following the limited number of people of color on the Oscar nominee list for the second year in a row. Monday, during the annual Oscars luncheon to honor all nominees, it was no different.