Look at the best actor category. If Will Smith or Michael B. Jordan got nominated, then either Matt Damon, Bryan Cranston, Michael Fassbender, Leonardo Dicaprio, or Eddie Redmayne wouldn’t have. I’ll admit that I do believe Will Smith gave a better performance than one of the men that actually did score a nomination, but we’re talking about art and art is subjective. It’s not that Will Smith or Michael B. Jordan didn’t get nominated because they were black (I hope), they didn’t get nominated because there were other equally-strong or more deserving performances. The same argument applies to Tom Hanks (Bridge of Spies), and Tom Hardy (Legend). Both were great; both got snubbed.
If Elba snuck into the supporting category, then who should have been left out? Is Elba more deserving than Stallone, Bale, Rylance, Hardy, and Ruffalo just because he’s black? What about Steve Carrell (The Big Short) or Michael Keaton (Spotlight)?
Could the Oscars be more diverse? Yes, but not if it’s at the expense of not nominating someone just because they happen to be white. There were some good black performances this year, but that’s not doesn’t mean the great white performances should be dismissed either.
And just for the record, the best performance of the year didn’t come from a white or black actor. It was Benicio Del Torro’s performance in Sicario. A Mexican.