An Oscar night protest over the lack of diversity in Hollywood was cancelled after a request by Selma director Ava DuVernay. Selma was widely considered snubbed by the Academy, which is about 93% white with an average voting age of 62, in this year’s Oscar nominations. The LA chapter of Al Sharpton’s civil rights group complied with DuVernay’s request to halt the protest, though the organization maintains the problem is much bigger than the lack of recognition for Selma. Online protests, however, continued–with many regular viewers promising to boycott the show.
Those who didn’t tune in were spared the unfortunate vision of host Neil Patrick Harris inexplicably stripped to his underwear, but they also missed a victory for diversity–if of the less discussed variety. Alejandro G. Iñárritu, a Mexican who directed the statuette-nabbing Birdman, was awarded Best Director for a film that also won Best Picture. This is the second year in a row the old white Academy gave the Best Director Oscar to a Mexican. Last year Alfonso Cuarón won Best Director for Gravity. Both winners were men, of course.