This year's lineup of Academy Award nominees for acting is the least racially diverse in 17 years. All the performers nominated across the four acting categories are white — the first time that's happened since 1998, the year "Titanic" scored the top prize.
David Oyelowo, the British-born Nigerian actor who played the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in "Selma," was widely expected to be nominated for Best Actor — but he was shut out. Bradley Cooper ("American Sniper") and Steve Carrel ("Foxcatcher") nabbed nominations in that column, defying predictions from Oscar pundits.
What's more, "Selma" director Ava DuVernay — who has already made history as the first black woman to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award for directing — was also snubbed. She had been considered a shoe-in for the Best Director category. "Selma," which depicts the 1965 Selma-to-Montgomery voting rights marches, has received generally positive reviews from critics.
At last year's Oscars, three performers of color were nominated in the four acting categories. Chiwetel Ejiofor was nominated for his lead role in "12 Years a Slave" and Barkhad Abdi was nominated for his supporting part in "Captain Phillips." Lupita Nyong'o won the Best Supporting Actress prize for "12 Years a Slave."