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On Jan. 14, the 2016 Oscar nominations were announced.

There are plenty of talented actors who deserve a round of applause. Leonardo DiCaprio, for instance, is up for Best Actor for his work in "The Revenant," right after snagging the Golden Globe this past weekend. Jennifer Lawrence and Brie Larson are also nominated for the top prize in the actress category, fresh off big wins at Sunday's Globes.

Congrats!


Photo by Paul Drinkwater/NBCUniversal via Getty Images.

These thespians deserve a slap on the back, no doubt. But there's a sad reality about the acting categories as a whole:

Not even one person of color was recognized with an acting nomination this year, and it wasn't due to a lack of superb performances to choose from.

Take a moment to let this fact sink in: Every single nominee in all 20 acting slots this year is white. In other words, not one person of color is nominated for Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, or Best Supporting Actress.

Many feel as though actor Idris Elba was snubbed for his role in "Beasts of No Nation." Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images.

Don't get me wrong — the nominees are some seriously talented folks. Cate Blanchett? Mark Ruffalo? Bryan Cranston? Kate Winslet? These people are known for their powerhouse performances, and they have the acting chops to prove it.

But when you look at performances by actors of color that didn't make the cut — Idris Elba in "Beasts of No Nation," Will Smith in "Concussion," Michael B. Jordan in "Creed" (just to name a few) — it's hard not to wonder ... how could not even a single slot across all 20 be given to a non-white person?

Are you experiencing déjà vu? The exact same thing happened last January.

The 2015 Academy Awards was of historic proportion; for the first time since 1997, every acting category slot had been filled by a white person (sound familiar?). This prompted the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite to go viral, as social media erupted with outrage. I mean, it was 2015, after all ... how could that happen?

Welp, the Academy has outdone itself.


In fact, the 2016 Oscar season somehow shaped up to be even less diverse. Last January, at least "Selma" — a film that highlighted the story of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the civil rights movement — snagged a nod for best picture, even as the film's star, David Oyelowo, was snubbed for his performance as MLK. Not one movie in the running for best picture this year features a person of color as a protagonist. Many believe the critically acclaimed blockbuster "Straight Outta Compton" was straight up snubbed.

A comment from Oyelowo last year about his snub and the types of roles performed by people of color that get recognized is particularly striking now, given the context of this year's lack of diverse nominees (emphasis added):

"Generally speaking, we as black people have been celebrated more for when we are subservient, when we are not being leaders, or kings, or being in the center of our own narrative driving it forward. ...We have been slaves, we have been domestic servants, we have been criminals, we have been all of those things, but we've been leaders, we've been kings, we've been those who change the world. And those films where that is the case are so hard to get made."

Of course, who should and shouldn't be nominated for what is certainly debatable — 100 people could have 100 different reviews after watching the same movie. But the fact there were many more films featuring non-white actors and stories of Oscar-potential this year that got completely overlooked paints a disturbing picture.

As Vox's Todd VanDerWerff pointed out, "It's so much harder to suggest that 'maybe the Academy just didn't like it,' when 'it' applies to a whole swath of movies and performances."

So, what's the problem here? Why is the Academy overlooking black and brown actors and stories?

It's easy to forget that the Academy is not, like, some Hollywood higher power that announces the best actors and films based on its divine authority. The academy is made up of (overwhelmingly white, older, male) humans.

Photo by Valerie Macon/AFP/Getty Images.

As The Los Angeles Times reported in 2013, the Academy's membership is a whopping 93% white and 76% male. Also, the average member is in their early 60s.

All things considered, it makes sense that the actors and storylines that resonate most with an audience of people who mostly look like grandpas in Disney Channel sitcoms would be — yep, you guessed it! — white actors telling white people's stories.

Will the Academy's top choices ever accurately reflect America's demographics? There's certainly reason to hope.

Even though the Academy itself isn't entirely to blame — more movies created by people of color that cast people of color would help diversify an all-white nominee list — it realizes its way of selecting top performances needs changing.

That's why, in recent years, the Academy's accepted a larger and more diverse pool of new members, as The Hollywood Reporter noted, hoping to begin chipping away at the racial and gender imbalance.

It'll be a process, though — with more than 6,000 Academy voters and an annual new membership figure that stays in the low hundreds, it'll take time for a truly diverse voting body to form.

So here's to hoping the 2026 nods are a lot less white than the 2016 ones.

Pop Culture

Artist uses AI to create ultra realistic portraits of celebrities who left us too soon

What would certain icons look like if nothing had happened to them?

Mercury would be 76 today.

Some icons have truly left this world too early. It’s a tragedy when anyone doesn’t make it to see old age, but when it happens to a well-known public figure, it’s like a bit of their art and legacy dies with them. What might Freddie Mercury have created if he were granted the gift of long life? Bruce Lee? Princess Diana?

Their futures might be mere musings of our imagination, but thanks to a lot of creativity (and a little tech) we can now get a glimpse into what these celebrities might have looked like when they were older.

Alper Yesiltas, an Istanbul-based lawyer and photographer, created a photography series titled “As If Nothing Happened,” which features eerily realistic portraits of long gone celebrities in their golden years. To make the images as real looking as possible, Yesiltas incorporated various photo editing programs such as Adobe Lightroom and VSCO, as well as the AI photo-enhancing software Remini.

“The hardest part of the creative process for me is making the image feel ‘real’ to me,” Yesiltas wrote about his passion project. “The moment I like the most is when I think the image in front of me looks as if it was taken by a photographer.”

Yesiltas’ meticulousness paid off, because the results are uncanny.

Along with each photo, Yesiltas writes a bittersweet message “wishing” how things might have gone differently … as if nothing happened.
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All images provided by Adewole Adamson

It begins with more inclusive conversations at a patient level

True

Adewole Adamson, MD, of the University of Texas, Austin, aims to create more equity in health care by gathering data from more diverse populations by using artificial intelligence (AI), a type of machine learning. Dr. Adamson’s work is funded by the American Cancer Society (ACS), an organization committed to advancing health equity through research priorities, programs and services for groups who have been marginalized.

Melanoma became a particular focus for Dr. Adamson after meeting Avery Smith, who lost his wife—a Black woman—to the deadly disease.

melanoma,  melanoma for dark skin Avery Smith (left) and Adamson (sidenote)

This personal encounter, coupled with multiple conversations with Black dermatology patients, drove Dr. Adamson to a concerning discovery: as advanced as AI is at detecting possible skin cancers, it is heavily biased.

To understand this bias, it helps to first know how AI works in the early detection of skin cancer, which Dr. Adamson explains in his paper for the New England Journal of Medicine (paywall). The process uses computers that rely on sets of accumulated data to learn what healthy or unhealthy skin looks like and then create an algorithm to predict diagnoses based on those data sets.

This process, known as supervised learning, could lead to huge benefits in preventive care.

After all, early detection is key to better outcomes. The problem is that the data sets don’t include enough information about darker skin tones. As Adamson put it, “everything is viewed through a ‘white lens.’”

“If you don’t teach the algorithm with a diverse set of images, then that algorithm won’t work out in the public that is diverse,” writes Adamson in a study he co-wrote with Smith (according to a story in The Atlantic). “So there’s risk, then, for people with skin of color to fall through the cracks.”

Tragically, Smith’s wife was diagnosed with melanoma too late and paid the ultimate price for it. And she was not an anomaly—though the disease is more common for White patients, Black cancer patients are far more likely to be diagnosed at later stages, causing a notable disparity in survival rates between non-Hispanics whites (90%) and non-Hispanic blacks (66%).

As a computer scientist, Smith suspected this racial bias and reached out to Adamson, hoping a Black dermatologist would have more diverse data sets. Though Adamson didn’t have what Smith was initially looking for, this realization ignited a personal mission to investigate and reduce disparities.

Now, Adamson uses the knowledge gained through his years of research to help advance the fight for health equity. To him, that means not only gaining a wider array of data sets, but also having more conversations with patients to understand how socioeconomic status impacts the level and efficiency of care.

“At the end of the day, what matters most is how we help patients at the patient level,” Adamson told Upworthy. “And how can you do that without knowing exactly what barriers they face?”

american cancer society, skin cacner treatment"What matters most is how we help patients at the patient level."https://www.kellydavidsonstudio.com/

The American Cancer Society believes everyone deserves a fair and just opportunity to prevent, find, treat, and survive cancer—regardless of how much money they make, the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, gender identity, their disability status, or where they live. Inclusive tools and resources on the Health Equity section of their website can be found here. For more information about skin cancer, visit cancer.org/skincancer.

The mesmerizing lost art of darning knit fabric.

For most of human history, people had to make their own clothing by hand, and sewing skills were subsequently passed down from generation to generation. Because clothing was so time-consuming and labor-intensive to make, people also had to know how to repair clothing items that got torn or damaged in some way.

The invention of sewing and knitting machines changed the way we acquire clothing, and the skills people used to possess have largely gone by the wayside. If we get a hole in a sock nowadays, we toss it and replace it. Most of us have no idea how to darn a sock or fix a hole in any knit fabric. It's far easier for us to replace than to repair.

But there are still some among us who do have the skills to repair clothing in a way that makes it look like the rip, tear or hole never happened, and to watch them do it is mesmerizing.

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Joy

Nurse turns inappropriate things men say in the delivery room into ‘inspirational’ art

"Can you move to the birthing ball so I can sleep in the bed?"

Holly the delivery nurse.

After working six years as a labor and delivery nurse Holly, 30, has heard a lot of inappropriate remarks made by men while their partners are in labor. “Sometimes the moms think it’s funny—and if they think it’s funny, then I’ll laugh with them,” Holly told TODAY Parents. “But if they get upset, I’ll try to be the buffer. I’ll change the subject.”

Some of the comments are so wrong that she did something creative with them by turning them into “inspirational” quotes and setting them to “A Thousand Miles” by Vanessa Carlton on TikTok.

“Some partners are hard to live up to!” she jokingly captioned the video.

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