The Academy Mistakes 'Selma' Actress Tessa Thompson For Carmen Ejogo & The Diversity Issues Keep Coming

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 21: Actress Tessa Thompson attends the 2014 American Music Awards Radio Row at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 21, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images for DCP)
Source: Tommaso Boddi/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

Let's talk about the Academy and their nominations for the whitest Oscars ceremony in 17 years. Anger arose from the lack of nominations for Ava DuVernay's Selma in which David Oyelowo gave an electric and moving performance as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. And the snafus just keep coming: on Saturday, the Academy posted a photo to their official Instagram account congratulating Selma for its Best Picture Award nomination, using a promo photo featuring actress Tessa Thompson — but which the Academy tagged as Carmen Ejogo. Nooooot a point in the Academy's corner, who have been condemned for their #OscarsSoWhite.

Though they deleted the Instagram, it did not escape the screenshotting power of the Twitter police, and it is downright embarrassing. A 16-year-old with an Instagram account could avoid making a mistake of that magnitude. Obviously the first question is, "Can the Academy REALLY not tell the difference between two black actresses?" Apparently they knew immediately that they'd made a huge GOB Bluth style mistake and deleted, but whether they'll issue an apology remains to be seen.

They know that they're not doing hot in the representation of diversity game. Just last week the President of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Cheryl Boone Isaacs — a black woman — addressed the lack of diversity among this year's nominations in a pretty lukewarm statement, saying that ""In the last two years, we've made greater strides than we ever have in the past toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive organization through admitting new members and more inclusive classes of members." 

But just because the last two years have been better overall than the long, white history of the Academy Awards, it doesn't mean they should be patted on the back for past (marginal) progress. There was not ONE actor of color nominated across all the best actor categories. Pretty rough and inexcusable, especially the snub of David Oyelowo. And NEITHER of the two black actresses that the Academy can't keep straight, Tessa Thompson who plays Diane Nash and Carmen Ejogo who plays Coretta Scott King, were nominated in any category. Smooth moves! 

Obviously the Oscars are suffering from a major whitewashing, but unfortunately that's nothing new. And while we should definitely keep a critical eye on the Academy for their institutionalized racism and general exclusion of black films, it's also definitely OK to laugh it up when they make such awful mistakes. A little levity helps here.

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