BBC 2024-03-12 01:01:39

Kate photo: Princess of Wales seen after saying she edited Mother’s Day picture

The Princess of Wales has apologised “for any confusion” after she said she edited a Mother’s Day photograph of her and her children.

Her statement was posted on Kensington Palace social media after five agencies retracted it over editing concerns.

“Like many amateur photographers, I do occasionally experiment with editing,” Catherine said.

The image, taken by the Prince of Wales, was the first of Catherine to be released since her surgery in January.

PA, Getty Images, AFP, Associated Press (AP) and Reuters had removed the image. AP noted an “inconsistency in alignment of Princess Charlotte’s left hand”.

The Princess of Wales was seen on Monday being driven out of Windsor in a car with Prince William, as he travelled to the Commonwealth Day service which she did not attend.

In her statement on X, formerly Twitter, Catherine said: “I wanted to express my apologies for any confusion the family photograph we shared yesterday caused. I hope everyone celebrating had a very happy Mother’s Day. C.”

The apology, posted to social media, comes from the official account of the Prince and Princess of Wales, but it has the personal sign off of “C”, for Catherine.

She is taking responsibility for the changes to the photograph, rather than her husband Prince William, who took the photo, or any of the wider team around the royal couple.

According to royal sources, there were “minor adjustments” made by the Princess of Wales to the picture that was then posted online by Kensington Palace.

Kensington Palace said it would not be reissuing the original unedited photograph of Catherine and her children.

We know the photograph was edited, but some basic information about the image remains unknown – such as when exactly it was taken, what was changed or whether it was a composite of a number of pictures.

The photograph shows the princess sitting down, surrounded by Princess Charlotte, Prince Louis and Prince George, the latter wrapping his arms around her.

It was the first official photo of the Princess of Wales since her abdominal surgery two months ago. Since then she has stayed out of the public eye.

The image was posted with a message from Catherine which said: “Thank you for your kind wishes and continued support over the last two months.

“Wishing everyone a Happy Mother’s Day.”

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The photo was only intended as an “amateur, family photograph” released to mark Mother’s Day, say royal sources.

The implication is that this was not a piece of professional manipulation, but some tidying up of a picture capturing a family moment.

Except that this was not just a personal picture, it was going to be shared with the world, against a background in which it would inevitably be seen as an attempt to stop the speculation and conspiracy theories about Catherine, as she recovers from an operation.

‘Raising more questions’

Instead of providing an answer to such rumours it inadvertently ended up raising more questions.

The photo will also lead to discussions about how media outlets should use images or social media clips which are produced without any independent journalists being involved.

Although most public royal events will have professional photographers and press representatives, this was seen as a private moment, captured by the family themselves, as the princess recovers.

The only previous photo of the princess since her operation was a paparazzi shot, which was not used by UK news organisations because of concerns about breaches of privacy.

There have been previous examples of Kensington Palace putting out video footage without any external journalists being present, including a visit by the Princess of Wales to a “baby bank” helping disadvantaged families.

The Mother’s Day image was included on the front pages of several national newspapers and websites, including BBC News, and used on TV news bulletins – again including the BBC.

In order to use the new photo as quickly as possible, the BBC took the one used by Kensington Palace on their social media accounts.

Five photo agencies retracted the image over concerns it had been “manipulated”. The Associated Press issued a “kill notification” – an industry term used to make a retraction – late on Sunday, saying: “At closer inspection it appears that the source has manipulated the image. No replacement photo will be sent.”

Reuters said it too had withdrawn the image “following a post-publication review” and AFP also issued a “mandatory kill notice”.

Getty Images became the fourth organisation to retract the photograph. And PA said later on Monday it too had retracted the image, based on there being no clarification from Kensington Palace.

Most news organisations follow their own strict guidelines on the use of manipulated photographs, only using them when accompanied by an explanation that the image has been changed from the original.

News agencies, such as AP, therefore make a commitment to their clients that their photos are accurate and not digitally manipulated.

AP’s rules only allow “minor adjustments” in certain circumstances, including cropping and toning and colour adjustments, as well as the removal of dust on camera sensors. It says changes in density, contrast, colour and saturation levels “that substantially alter the original scene” are not acceptable.

The Princess of Wales was seen on Monday in public with William, as the pair left Windsor in a car.

Kensington Palace said the Prince of Wales was being driven to the Commonwealth Day service at London’s Westminster Abbey.

Catherine did not attend the service but was understood to have a private appointment.

William appeared alongside Queen Camilla at the service celebrating the Commonwealth.

Some 56 countries make up the Commonwealth of Nations – this year marking its 75th anniversary – the majority of which are former British Empire territories. For 14 of these countries, as well as the UK, the King is head of state.

Charles did not attend the service, due to his treatment for an unspecified cancer, but he pre-recorded a video message that was played to the 2,000 guests.

On Monday evening, Prince William spoke at an event in central London for his Earthshot Prize awards.

He asked investors and philanthropists to “join us in our mission” to help environmental innovators scale up their projects through the new online platform Launchpad.

William said the “ideas and ambition to set our planet on a healthier path do already exist”.

“But this is urgent,” he added. “We are in the critical decade now.”

Catherine, 42, spent 13 nights at the London Clinic, near Regent’s Park in central London, following the surgery.

Prince William came to see his wife during her stay and she was also visited by the King before he had his own treatment there.

The Palace has shared few details about her condition, which has garnered significant social media speculation, but has said it is not cancer-related.

The team supporting the princess as she recovers is small and limited to those closest to her.

At the time of her stay, the Palace said the princess wanted her personal medical information to remain private, adding that she wanted to “maintain as much normality for her children as possible”.

The Palace said it would only provide updates on her recovery when there was significant new information to share.

Haiti spirals to collapse as gangs tighten grip

Haiti is fast descending into anarchy.

Over the weekend, the violence in the capital Port-au-Prince ramped up once again. Heavily armed gangs attacked the National Palace and set part of the Interior Ministry on fire with petrol bombs.

It comes after a sustained attack on the international airport, which remains closed to all flights – including one carrying Prime Minister Ariel Henry.

He tried to fly back to Haiti from the United States last week, but his plane was refused permission to land. He was then turned away from the neighbouring Dominican Republic too.

Mr Henry is now stuck in Puerto Rico, unable to set foot in the nation he ostensibly leads.

Among those who did manage to get into the stricken Caribbean nation, though, was a group of US military personnel.

Following a request from the US State Department, the Pentagon confirmed it had carried out an operation to, as it put it, “augment the security” of the US embassy in Port-au-Prince and airlift all non-essential staff to safety.

Soon after, the EU said it had evacuated all of its diplomats, fleeing a nation mired in violence and facing its biggest humanitarian crisis since the 2010 earthquake.

Millions of Haitians, however, simply don’t have that luxury. They’re trapped, no matter how bad things get.

Haiti: The basics

  • The Caribbean country shares a border with the Dominican Republic and has an estimated population of 11.5 million
  • It has a land area of 27,800 sq km, which is slightly smaller than Belgium and about the same size as the US state of Maryland
  • Chronic instability, dictatorships and natural disasters in recent decades have left Haiti the poorest nation in the Americas
  • An earthquake in 2010 killed more than 200,000 people and caused extensive damage to infrastructure and the economy
  • A UN peacekeeping force was put in place in 2004 to help stabilise the country and only withdrew in 2017
  • In July 2021, President Jovenel Moïse was assassinated by unidentified gunmen in Port-au-Prince. Amid political stalemate, the country continues to be wracked by unrest and gang violence

The situation is dire at the State University of Haiti Hospital, known as the general hospital, in downtown Port-au-Prince. There is no sign of any medical staff at all.

A dead body, covered by a sheet and swarming with flies, lies in a bed next to patients waiting in vain for treatment.

Despite the overpowering stench, no-one has come to remove the body. It is rapidly decomposing in the Caribbean heat.

“There are no doctors, they all fled last week,” said Philippe a patient who didn’t want to give his real name.

“We can’t go outside. We hear the explosions and gunfire. So, we must have courage and stay here, we can’t go anywhere.”

With no prime minister and a government in disarray, the gangs’ power over the capital is near absolute.

They control more than 80% of Port-au-Prince and the country’s most notorious gang leader, Jimmy “Barbecue” Chérizier has again told the prime minister to resign.

“If Ariel Henry doesn’t step down and the international community continues to support him,” he said last week, “they will lead us directly to a civil war which will end in genocide.”

Meanwhile, the police, outnumbered and demoralised, are struggling to keep looters at bay. The Salomon police station in Port-au-Prince was attacked and burnt out, and charred police vehicles lie outside the still-smouldering building.

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Nevertheless, even in the face of the total collapse of law and order, people must still venture out to make a living.

At a nearby market, several street hawkers told the BBC they had no other option but to leave their homes, even with gunmen roaming the streets.

“I have three kids, and I’m all they have – I’m their mother and their father,” said Jocelyn, a market trader who also didn’t want to give her real name.

“So, I’m obliged to take to the streets. Yesterday gunmen came here and stole all our money. A lot of vendors lost all their money. But there’s no way to stay at home when you have three mouths to feed.”

“The anxiety is killing me when I’m in the street,” echoed an older woman selling fruit. “I keep thinking what if I get shot dead? Who will take care of my children then? I have no family to support me.”

To the west, in one of Haiti’s nearest neighbours, Jamaica, the dignitaries, diplomats and heads of state of the Caricom regional group are gathering for an emergency summit.

The instability in Haiti is a problem for the entire Caribbean community, and for Washington too. The idea of a nation of some 11 million people being run by gangs is of huge concern, particularly the potential impact on outward migration during an election year in the US.

It’s clear Caricom favours seeing Mr Henry resign as soon as possible, from outside of the country if necessary.

The Biden administration in the US has publicly said the unelected prime minister – who had promised to hold an election in February – should return to Haiti, but only in order to stand down and begin a transition to a new government.

Privately, though, US diplomats are increasingly aware that it might now be impossible for him to return, and that even attempting to do so could further destabilise Haiti.

A UN-backed plan for a Kenyan-led rapid reaction force to tackle the gangs is still far from becoming a reality.

To add to the lawlessness, a week ago, around 4,000 inmates escaped after the gangs attacked the main prison in Port-au-Prince.

Those prisoners are now back on the streets and bolstering the ranks of their gangs.

In the aftermath, the cell doors are now wide open, the facility is virtually abandoned and there are blood stains on the ground after gunmen overpowered the guards.

A prime minister unable to return, violent gangs in control of the capital and dead bodies piling up on the streets: Haiti is currently a nation about as close to a failed state as it’s possible to be.

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Boeing whistleblower found dead in US

A former Boeing employee known for raising concerns about the firm’s production standards has been found dead in the US.

John Barnett had worked for Boeing for 32 years, until his retirement in 2017.

In the days before his death, he had been giving evidence in a whistleblower lawsuit against the company.

Boeing said it was saddened to hear of Mr Barnett’s passing. The Charleston County coroner confirmed his death to the BBC on Monday.

It said the 62-year-old had died from a “self-inflicted” wound on 9 March and police were investigating.

Mr Barnett had worked for the US plane giant for 32 years, until his retirement in 2017 on health grounds.

From 2010, he worked as a quality manager at the North Charleston plant making the 787 Dreamliner, a state-of-the-art airliner used mainly on long-haul routes.

In 2019, Mr Barnett told the BBC that under-pressure workers had been deliberately fitting sub-standard parts to aircraft on the production line.

He also said he had uncovered serious problems with oxygen systems, which could mean one in four breathing masks would not work in an emergency.

He said soon after starting work in South Carolina he had become concerned that the push to get new aircraft built meant the assembly process was rushed and safety was compromised, something the company denied.

He later told the BBC that workers had failed to follow procedures intended to track components through the factory, allowing defective components to go missing.

He said in some cases, sub-standard parts had even been removed from scrap bins and fitted to planes that were being built to prevent delays on the production line.

He also claimed that tests on emergency oxygen systems due to be fitted to the 787 showed a failure rate of 25%, meaning that one in four could fail to deploy in a real-life emergency.

Mr Barnett said he had alerted managers to his concerns, but no action had been taken.

Boeing denied his assertions. However, a 2017 review by the US regulator, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA), did uphold some of Mr Barnett’s concerns.

It established that the location of at least 53 “non-conforming” parts in the factory was unknown, and that they were considered lost. Boeing was ordered to take remedial action.

On the oxygen cylinders issue, the company said that in 2017 it had “identified some oxygen bottles received from the supplier that were not deploying properly”. But it denied that any of them were actually fitted on aircraft.

After retiring, he embarked on a long-running legal action against the company.

He accused it of denigrating his character and hampering his career because of the issues he pointed out – charges rejected by Boeing.

At the time of his death, Mr Barnett had been in Charleston for legal interviews linked to that case.

Last week, he gave a formal deposition in which he was questioned by Boeing’s lawyers, before being cross-examined by his own counsel.

He had been due to undergo further questioning on Saturday. When he did not appear, enquiries were made at his hotel.

He was subsequently found dead in his truck in the hotel car park.

Speaking to the BBC, his lawyer described his death as “tragic”.

In a statement Boeing said: “We are saddened by Mr. Barnett’s passing, and our thoughts are with his family and friends.”

His death comes at a time when production standards at both Boeing and its key supplier Spirit Aerosystems are under intense scrutiny.

This follows an incident in early January when an unused emergency exit door blew off a brand-new Boeing 737 Max shortly after take-off from Portland International Airport.

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A preliminary report from the US National Transportation Safety Board suggested that four key bolts, designed to hold the door securely in place, were not fitted.

Last week, the FAA said a six-week audit of the company had found “multiple instances where the company allegedly failed to comply with manufacturing quality control requirements”.

Employers may not tolerate Gen Z’s casual language

In the quest to be themselves, many young workers communicate casually. It doesn’t sit well with all companies that see professionalism differently.

When Anna landed a job in the art department at a prominent London-based hedge fund straight out of university in 2022, she was the youngest member of her team by a decade. Unfazed by the age gap, Anna, who’d graduated at the top of her class, was eager to learn from colleagues. Their feedback was mostly positive, she recalls, but for one issue: her boss said her casual language and informal manner undermined her credibility.

She brushed it off. “I had good relationships with clients – I think it’s better to be personable than austere,” says Anna, now in her mid-20s. “I was performing well and thought that would be enough.” 

Four months into the job, however, she was fired. Her manager cited her “lack of professionalism”, including her frequent use of filler words like “like” and “totally”, as a contributing factor. Anna’s supervisor said she didn’t come across as an “intelligent” person who should be working at a top hedge fund, and that her demeanour didn’t fit the firm’s image.

Anna was devastated. “No-one told me beforehand what to say or not say. And everyone my age talks this way. How was I supposed to know?”

Older generations have nearly always looked down on younger ones, often arguing they are weaker, less serious or less prepared – especially at work. But experts say the current clash over Gen Z’s work language extends beyond standard-issue generational divides. Instead, it’s emblematic of how much life and work have changed throughout the past several years – and a harbinger of things to come.

Tension building

As new employees enter the workforce, they face the challenge of defining their professional identities. Figuring out how they conduct themselves, both through their speaking styles and overall manners, is part of the process. In past years, the task usually has not been so formidable. The workplace has traditionally demanded a type of formality in which employees are expected to conform to established norms set out by older leaders.

Younger people often get their news from social media, introducing them to casual language (Credit: Getty Images)

Yet these old ways – which establish a largely homogenous work culture – aren’t sitting right with a new generation of workers who prize individuality. The post-pandemic rise of remote work and its blurred lines between the personal and professional has contributed to a shift toward a less formal work environment as well.

“With new technologies and shifting values, younger people increasingly want their work and personal identities to be one and the same,” says Christopher G Myers, associate professor at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School, US, and an Academy of Management scholar. “They don’t want to have a fake work voice and persona. They want to be natural – they want to be themselves.”

For some members of Gen Z, the notion they must adhere to someone else’s standards seems artificial and at odds with their values of authenticity and self-expression, says Michelle Ehrenreich, who directs the communications program at Boston University’s Questrom School of Business, US. “The upcoming generation has been told, ‘Be yourself! You’re you, and you’re wonderful!’ But there’s a tension when they start working in a more corporate environment,” she says.

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Bringing these attitudes and experiences to work means directly bucking the conventions that have been governing workplaces for decades. And that’s not what most employers are looking for – companies largely don’t usually want workers’ unvarnished selves in the workplace, says Ehrenreich. Instead, employees are expected to speak and carry themselves in a way that matches the organisation’s culture. 

This can be especially difficult for Gen Z, lots of whom lack the professional lexicon of past generations. Gen Z’s social media upbringing has left many with limited exposure to formal communication, says Caroline Goyder, a London-based communications and speech consultant who trains a mix of corporate clients.

The upcoming generation has been told, ‘Be yourself! You’re you, and you’re wonderful!’ But there’s a tension when they start working in a more corporate environment – Michelle Ehrenreich

Instead of watching or listening to mainstream news broadcasters with a more formal style, for instance, they’ve grown up with a variety of social media influencers, she says. In the US, late 2023 data from Pew Research Center shows roughly a third of adults younger than 30 regularly get news from TikTok. “Influencers tend to use warm, friendly tones and informal, high-energy speech patterns, such as bouncy-up talk, to make themselves seem more approachable,” says Goyder – a far cry from the buttoned-up vernacular of the Baby Boomer, Gen X and even millennial workplace.

The disconnect presents a problem for the youngest workers. Although communication standards can vary among industries, company sizes and roles, Ehrenreich says certain traditional rules of professional conduct remain essential in many situations.

Some data has shown professional success hinges on personal polish. A 2018 study published in Harvard Business Review showed that weak executive presence and poor communication style are the two most critical factors that can stall career progress. Even though the workplace has changed since this research was conducted, Ehrenreich believes the conclusions are still highly relevant today. To help young people succeed in employment, she works with students at Boston University to refine their communication skills, focusing on tone, eliminating filler words and improving eye contact as well as posture and body language.

And although it’s true an informal approach in the workplace can help build connections, if employees are perceived as too casual, it can have the opposite effect. (Just ask Anna.) “You can’t run a committee or make hard, serious decisions without balancing strength and warmth, formality with approachability, and task and relationships,” says Goyder.

Gen Z may not have to change themselves to succeed in the workplace – but they may want to change their language for now (Credit: Getty Images)

Which side wins?

Although Gen Z will still need to be aware of traditional “professional” language – and must adhere to it for now, at least if they want to keep their jobs – the issue isn’t black and white in a changing world of work. 

In the aftermath of the pandemic, dress codes are looser, hours are more flexible and people work from home more often. All of this means communication too, is evolving in offices around the world. In the UK, an August 2023 survey by Barclays showed nearly three-quarters of respondents say that Gen Z are changing the formality of language in the workplace.

Gen Z’s casual speaking style could be an indicator of professional changes to come. “The approach that we take to our interpersonal communication is constantly evolving,” says Myers. These changes may slowly find their way into the workplace – but Myers says it often “lags behind and is slower to adopt some of these new ways of being”.

He adds that while younger professionals are expected to adapt to professional standards, senior leaders must also appreciate that language conventions and employee needs change over time. Leaders should be open to embracing a less formal approach that perhaps allows for more personal expression, he says. For instance, although they may still want to prioritise keeping “critical moments of communication at work” formal, there may also be situations, such as internal chats or team meetings, “where there isn’t as direct a business case to be made, policing language might not be worth it”, he says.

You can’t run a committee or make hard, serious decisions without balancing strength and warmth, formality with approachability, and task and relationships – Caroline Goyder

Taking a long view, as Baby Boomers and Gen X gradually cede the reins of leadership to younger generations, a more casual tone may permeate the workplace. “Maybe when older generations move on, things will change,” says Ehrenreich. “But at the moment, the people in charge have expectations that they enforce.” 

As for Anna, she’s found a job in television, which she says is much better suited to her personality and skills. When she thinks back on her abbreviated stint at the hedge fund, it’s with a mixture of embarrassment and enlightenment. “I’ve done a lot of self-reflection,” she says. “I shouldn’t have been hired; it wasn’t the right job for me.”

It was, however, a learning experience. She says she still strives to be her “true authentic self” at work, but that she’s also focused on getting better at how she presents herself. She’s actively working on limiting “like” and “totally” from her vocabulary and figuring out how to make the most of her time with executives. “If I am in a meeting with someone senior, I sit up a bit straighter and smarten up my language. I am not fundamentally changing the way I speak, but I talk a bit differently.”

This, says Ehrenreich, is the smart approach – at least for now. “You’ve got to be able to flex your style if you want a big corporate job. It’s not about changing who you are, it’s about adapting.”

Bradley Cooper and other snubbed Oscar contenders

Many of the most-snubbed stars have been nominated over and over without ever taking home a trophy.

During Oscars season, certain names – hello again, Scorsese – are almost predictably in the mix year after year. But while it’s an honour just to be nominated, some of the biggest stars in Hollywood, who have many notable projects under their belts, also have long histories of being relentlessly overlooked when it comes to actually taking home the trophy. And other artists have had notably long dry runs before their name is finally called on the big night.

Nominations are, of course, chosen by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and you must be nominated to join this exclusive club. In 2019, there were around 9,000 members, and today there are about 10,500. Members vote in the categories of their own profession – so actors vote for actors, editors vote for editors – and each voter makes 10 selections in the appropriate category. Once the shortlist of nominations is formed, Academy members vote for the winner across all categories. For those outside of the Academy, it’s impossible to know exactly how the decisions are made, especially the shocking snubs.

Last night, Bradley Cooper cemented his spot on the list. The triple-threat actor, writer and director who has been nominated 12 times – four for best actor – yet never snagged a trophy, couldn’t break his snub-streak. While Cooper earned three nominations for his film Maestro – best picture, best actor, best original screenplay – he went home empty-handed. And he’s far from the only artist who has been the victim of Academy Award snubs.

Bradley Cooper has been nominated 12 times – four for best actor – yet never snagged a trophy(Credit: Getty Images)

Most notable Oscars snubs 

One star who has been snubbed over and over is Amy Adams. Having been nominated six times (Junebug, Doubt, The Fighter, The Master, Vice and American Hustle) over the course of her career it’s inarguable how massive a talent she is. But somehow, she’s always been passed over on the big day. While Adams received rave reviews for her role in Arrival, it didn’t earn her a nomination from the Academy.

While Meryl Streep has a handful of golden statues, she’s also had a long history of being relentlessly snubbed. With 21 Oscar nominations to her name, some believe she should have far more wins – such as for her raved about roles in The Manchurian Candidate, The Hours or Death Becomes Her. Still, Streep is in a small club of women who have been awarded the best actress statue three times, so while the odds don’t seem in her favour, she’s not likely to complain. It’s been six years since Streep has received an Oscar nomination, for her role in The Post, marking the longest period she’s gone without since 1978’s The Deer Hunter.

Also on the snub-list is 49-year-old actor Leonardo DiCaprio, an actor who has had an incredibly successful career. While high-earning films like Titanic may have catapulted him to mega stardom, his Academy Award nominations started much earlier. He was nominated for best supporting actor for his role in 1993’s What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, a nod that kicked off a lengthy snub-streak. The actor was later nominated for The Aviator, Blood Diamond, and The Wolf of Wall Street, but didn’t take home a trophy until his role as Hugh Glass in 2016’s The Revenant. DiCaprio was nominated again for 2019’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, but went home without an Oscar.

Somewhat astonishingly, Glenn Close has never won an Oscar, but has more nominations without a win than any actor in history. She’s had eight nods for her roles in The World According to Garp, The Big Chill, The Natural, and Hillbilly Elegy, as well as Fatal Attraction, among others. But while the star has never taken home an Oscar, she’s said it doesn’t bother her. “First of all, I don’t think I’m a loser,” she told the Associated Press of her snub streak in 2021. “Who in that category is a loser? You’re there, you’re five people honoured for the work that you’ve done by your peers. What’s better than that?”

Iconic directorial snubs

It’s not just actors who get snubbed – some of the most successful directors have run through surprising Oscars losing streaks. Martin Scorsese directed legendary films like Taxi Driver, GoodFellas and The Aviator, all of which were snubbed at the Oscars. In fact, while the director has been making films since the ’70s and has achieved a whopping 16 nominations, he’s only ever received one Academy Award: for 2006’s The Departed. Scorsese has also earned more Oscar nominations for best director than anyone alive, surpassing Steven Spielberg’s nine. This year, Scorcese was passed over once again for his work on Killers of the Flower Moon, which was nominated for best picture, but lost to Oppenheimer. Fans have theorised the Academy overlooks the director’s work because it deals with more diverse narratives and often features languages other than English.

Samuel L. Jackson – the actor with the greatest total box office gross of all time at over £21bn – has only ever been nominated for one Academy Award (Credit: Getty Images)

Artists of colour overlooked at the Oscars

A historic lack of recognition for actors of colour makes some snubs less surprising than others. Still, it’s fairly stunning that Samuel L Jackson – whose body of work has one of the highest total box office gross of all time, at over £21bn ($27bn) – has only ever been nominated for one Academy Award, 1995’s Pulp Fiction. The actor has spoken openly about his snubs, too. In a 2023 interview with Vulture, he opened up about the feeling that a nomination for A Time To Kill was stolen from him by the way the film was edited. 

Even though the actor has had dozens of memorable performances and snagged six People’s Choice Awards, the 73-year-old has never won an Oscar for any of his performances. In 2022, recognising that Jackson had somehow been overlooked during his decades- long career, the Academy gave him an honorary Academy Award for lifetime achievement at the Governors Awards, which was presented by Denzel Washington.

Angela Bassett, another accomplished black actor who has been nominated for her role as Tina Turner in What’s Love Got To Do With It, and for her role in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, was snubbed both times. While in 2023, she made history as the first actor to earn an Oscar nomination for a Marvel film as Queen Ramonda in Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, she lost the award to Jamie Lee Curtis. In January 2024, she was awarded an honourary Oscar.

Of course, there are a lot of dynamics involved in who gets nominated and who wins. And those dynamics are ever-shifting, thanks to efforts towards diversity at the awards. Y-Vonne Hutchinson, founder and CEO of The Ready Set, a consulting and strategy firm that works with entertainment organisations and clients to help improve their efforts towards inclusivity, says that while there has been progress at Oscars in recent years, it’s not enough. When it comes to actors of colour, snubs aren’t just a result of who the Academy deems worthy, but also a result of who is being given opportunities for work. 

“There’s been some progress, but still a feeling that there’s a limit to what that progress is,” she tells BBC Culture. She says that for actors of colour, opportunities also come with added pressure. “I know that actors and creators still have this fear that they get one shot, that even though there’s been improvement there’s a scarcity” of roles and opportunities. 

Perhaps one prime example of that is Lily Gladstone losing to Emma Stone for best actress on Sunday. “While Emma Stone is really beloved, there were a lot of people rooting for Lily Gladstone to be recognised,” Angela Andaloro, a culture critic at People Magazine tells BBC Culture. 

“Stone”, Andaloro explains, “while clearly grateful for the honour and gracious to mention the other nominated actresses in her acceptance, will almost certainly have other opportunities – and that didn’t hinge on the outcome of last night’s ceremony.”

“A win for Lily”, on the other hand, who was the first Native American woman to have ever been nominated in an acting category, would have been really poignant and opened the possibility for more of that representation,” Andaloro concludes.

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