Hair Love‘s Oscars Nom Is A Sliver Of Hope Amid Diversity Backlash
This morning, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences revealed its shortlist for the 92nd annual Oscars, with John Cho and Issa Rae appearing on livestream to announce the nominees in 24 categories. The backlash to the lack of representation was swift, and the snubs considerable: Of the 20 nominees for acting, only one was Black; Jennifer Lopez’s anticipated nod for her role in Hustlers was nowhere to be found; and zero women were named in the directing category for the second year in a row. Thousands of disappointed moviegoers have taken to social media to express their frustrations in the hours since — and rightfully so. But there is one small-but-mighty victory that stands as a beacon of light amid so much controversy: the nomination of Hair Love for Best Animated Short Film. ADVERTISEMENT
The idea for the five-minute film, which tells the story of a Black father learning to do his daughter’s hair, was pitched by NFL wide receiver-turned-movie director Matthew A. Cherry and picked up by Sony Pictures Animation (with a bonus book adaptation) after surpassing its Kickstarter goal of $75,000 by over $200,000. Little did Cherry know when he launched the crowdfunding campaign in 2017 that his work would appear in theaters and star Issa Rae, much less that his dream of an Oscar nomination would come true.