Notice something about the Oscar nominees announced on Tuesday? The list was awfully ... monochromatic.
This year marks the first time in 10 years that there have been no black acting nominees. Not since the 2001 Academy Awards have black actors been shut out of the Oscar race.
No one's suggesting that there should be racial quotas for the Oscars, nor are African-Americans the only under-represented minority among the nominees. Still, for the last decade, the Academy has recognized an explosion of black talent, and in numbers roughly proportional to the percentage of the U.S. population that's African-American. From 2002 to 2010, black stars earned 21 out of 180 acting nominations (that's 12 percent, about the same as their proportion among the general populace), and those nominations resulted in seven trophies for black performers. How does the Academy go from a tally like that down to zero?