Oscars 2016 nominations: Actor David Harewood joins chorus of criticism over lack of BME nominations

The actor called on those who attend next month’s award ceremony to do so in 'black face' in protest

The British actor David Harewood has joined in a chorus of criticism over the lack of an Oscar nomination for a black or ethnic minority person by calling on those who attend next month’s award ceremony to do so in “black face” in protest. Harewood, who was awarded an MBE in 2012 and starred in the hit US drama Homeland, tweeted: “As a sign of solidarity with their brethren, I suggest all nominees turn up to the this year’s Oscar ceremony in blackface. #OscarsSoWhite.”

He was joined African-American film-maker Reginald Hudlin, a producer of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained, who called the omission “tragic”.

“In a year with an extraordinary number of great performances by black actors that were embraced by audiences and embraced by critics, for them all to get ignored is tragic,” he said.

Hudlin will produce the ceremony on 28 February in Los Angeles, with African-American comedian Chris Rock as host.

Leonardo DiCaprio attended the London premiere of The Revenant at the Empire Leicester Square (PA)

Will Smith, who stars in American football drama Concussion, Idris Elba from Beasts of No Nation and Michael B Jordan, star of Creed, are among the black actors who have not been nominated.

The American writer Trey Taylor pointed out that the film Straight Outta Compton, a biopic of the hip hop group NWA, received a nomination only for its screenplay – it was written by three white people – even though it was directed by a black person and stars five black actors. 

“It’s telling in a film directed by a black dude with five black dudes in leads, they nominate two white scriptwriters. Correction: THREE white scriptwriters,” she tweeted.

British actor Eddie Redmayne earned his second consecutive Academy Award nomination, for his performance in The Danish Girl, but will more than likely be swept aside by Leonardo DiCaprio’s unstoppable Oscar momentum. In an otherwise uncertain year bereft of clear favourites in almost every category, DiCaprio remains a solid bet to win Best Actor at the Oscar ceremony on 28 February. 

As the nominations were unveiled yesterday in Los Angeles, his period survival epic The Revenant led the field with a total of 12 nominations, followed by Mad Max: Fury Road with 10 and The Martian with seven.

There was a British presence in all the acting categories, with Charlotte Rampling getting a Best Actress nod for her performance in 45 Years, and Kate Winslet, who unexpectedly picked up a Golden Globe on Sunday for her supporting turn in Steve Jobs, snagging a seventh Oscar nomination.

Kate Winslet is nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category for her role in 'Steve Jobs' (AP)

Mark Rylance (for Bridge of Spies), Tom Hardy (The Revenant) and Christian Bale (The Big Short) were all named in the Best Supporting Actor category. To win, however, one of them would have to knock out Sylvester Stallone, who will surely get the sentimental vote for his return performance as boxer Rocky Balboa in Creed, almost 40 years since the original Rocky won Best Picture. 

Stallone’s Creed co-star Michael B Jordan was not nominated, and for a second year running all four acting categories were made up entirely of white performers. Just as in 2015, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite trended on Twitter shortly after the nominations were announced yesterday.

The Martian director Ridley Scott, still without an Oscar at 78 and previously one of the favourites for this year’s prize, was left out of the Best Director category.