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Oscar nominations draw criticism for lack of diversity

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(PIX11) -- Ordinarily, a best picture Oscar nomination would be a feather in the cap for any filmmaker or producer.

But for the creators of "Selma," a film set against the backdrop of an iconic location of the Civil Rights movement and focused on one of the most iconic figures in our nation’s history, the Oscar news was still disappointing.

“The people who make up most of Hollywood are not people of color, said WBAI Radio and Arise TV chief film critic Mike Sargent. "They’re not women, they’re men of a certain color."

Sargent says lack of diversity within the membership of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is often to blame the lack of diversity on Oscar nomination day.

“Ironically, Selma is about voting rights and one of the problems down in the south in Selma, was that to actually get someone to sort of refer you," said Sargent. "And then you had to get a second person to say okay, this person is good. That’s the way it is today in the Academy of Arts."

But there maybe more to this.

The screeners that go out to members to preview the film, were shipped late this year.

Jeffrey Lyons is another long-time film critic.

“It’s a movie about slaves, or it’s a movie about Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It’s not a movie about everyday life - the way they do with white actors," said Lyons.  "The way they do about white actors."

When asked if he believed the Academy was no longer relevant, Lyons responded, “No, the Academy is very relevant. The Oscar is the most important award an actor or filmmaker can win, because it means more Oscar money."

Lyons will be on the PIX11 Morning News to discuss Selma Friday morning.

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