After the 2015 acting nominees were revealed to all be white, April Reign, a campaign finance lawyer, tweeted, “#OscarsSoWhite they asked to touch my hair.” Within hours, the hashtag had gone viral and garnered attention from big names in Hollywood like Spike Lee. People were especially shocked that Ava DuVernay’s Selma, which had been considered an Oscar favorite, had only been nominated for Best Song and Best Picture, freezing the film’s stars out from the acting categories.
Reign later told the New York Times that the tweet wasn’t even meant to be just a callout for the lack of Black nominees, but “the underrepresentation of all marginalized groups.”
In 2016, all of the acting nominations once again went to only white performers, causing #OscarsSoWhite to resurface. “One time you could call a fluke, two times feels like a pattern,” Reign told the New York Times.
After being called out, the Academy announced that they had implemented A2020, an initiative aiming to double the number of women and ethnically underrepresented members in the Academy by 2020 in order to boost the number of diverse nominees.