Last year's #OscarsSoWhite problem was bad. This year, it's even worse.

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.

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Amazon

Shopping sustainably is increasingly important given the severity of the climate crisis, but sometimes it's hard to know where to turn. Thankfully, Amazon is making it a little easier to browse thousands of products that have one or more of 19 sustainability certifications that help preserve the natural world.

The online retailer recently announced Climate Pledge Friendly, a program to make it easier for customers to discover and shop for more sustainable products. To determine the sustainability of a product, the program partnered with third-party certifications, including governmental agencies, nonprofits, and independent labs.

With a selection of items spanning grocery, household, fashion, beauty, and personal electronics, you'll be able to shop more sustainably not just for the holiday season, but throughout the year for your essentials, as well.

You can browse all of the Climate Pledge Friendly products here, labeled with an icon and which certification(s) they meet. To get you on your way to shopping more sustainably, we've rounded up eight of our favorite Climate Pledge Friendly-products that will make great gifts all year long.

Amazon

Jack Wolfskin Women's North York Coat

Give the gift of warmth and style with this coat, available in a variety of colors. Sustainability is built into all Jack Wolfskin products and each item comes with a code that lets you trace back to its origins and understand how it was made.

Bluesign: Bluesign products are responsibly manufactured by using safer chemicals and fewer resources, including less energy, in production.


Amazon

Amazon All-new Echo Dot (4th Gen)

For the tech-obsessed. This Alexa smart speaker, which comes in a sleek, compact design, lets you voice control your entertainment and your smart home as well as connect with others.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.


Amazon

Burt's Bees Family Jammies Matching Holiday Organic Cotton Pajamas

Get into the holiday spirit with these fun matching PJs for the whole family. Perfect for pictures that even Fido can get in on.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

Naturistick 5-Pack Lip Balm Gift Set

With 100% natural ingredients that are gentle on ultra-sensitive lips, this gift is a great gift for the whole family.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.


Amazon

Arus Women's GOTS Certified Organic Cotton Hooded Full Length Turkish Bathrobe

For those who love to lounge around, this full-length organic cotton bathrobe is the way to go. Available in five different colors, it has comfortable cuffed sleeves, a hood, pockets, and adjustable belt.

Global Organic Textile Standard: This certifies each step of the organic textile supply chain against strict ecological and social standards. Each product with this certification contains 95%-100% organic content.

Amazon

L'Occitane Extra-Gentle Vegetable Based Soap

This luxe soap, made with moisturizing shea butter and scented with verbena, is perfect for the self-care obsessed.

Compact by Design (Certified by Amazon): Products with this certification are packaged without excess air and water, which reduces the carbon footprint of shipping and packaging.

Amazon

Goodthreads Men's Sweater-Knit Fleece Long-Sleeve Bomber

For the fashionable men in your life, this fashion-forward knit bomber is an excellent choice. The sweater material keeps it cozy and warm, while the bomber jacket-cut, zip front, and rib-trim neck make it look elevated.

Recycled Claim Standard 100: Products with this certification use materials made from at least 95% recycled content.

Amazon

All-new Fire TV Stick with Alexa Voice Remote

Make it even easier to access your favorite movies and shows this holiday season. The new Fire TV Stick lets you use your voice to search across apps. Plus it controls the power and volume on your TV, so you'll never need to leave the couch! Except for snacks.

Reducing CO2: Products with this certification reduce their carbon footprint year after year. Certified by the Carbon Trust.

In the hours before he was sworn in as the 46th president of the United States, then-President-elect Biden was sent a letter signed by 17 freshmen GOP members of the House of Representatives.

In sharp contrast to the 121 Republican House members who voted against the certification of Biden's electoral votes—a constitutional procedure merely check-marking the state certifications that had already taken place—this letter expresses a desire to "rise above the partisan fray" and work together with Biden as he takes over the presidency.

The letter reads:

Dear President-elect Biden,

Congratulations on the beginning of your administration and presidency. As members of this freshman class, we trust that the next four years will present your administration and the 117thCongress with numerous challenges and successes, and we are hopeful that – despite our ideological differences – we may work together on behalf of the American people we are each so fortunate to serve.

After two impeachments, lengthy inter-branch investigations, and, most recently, the horrific attack on our nation's capital, it is clear that the partisan divide between Democrats and Republicans does not serve a single American.

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If the past year has taught us nothing else, it's that sending love out into the world through selfless acts of kindness can have a positive ripple effect on people and communities. People all over the United States seemed to have gotten the message — 71% of those surveyed by the World Giving Index helped a stranger in need in 2020. A nonprofit survey found 90% helped others by running errands, calling, texting and sending care packages. Many people needed a boost last year in one way or another and obliging good neighbors heeded the call over and over again — and continue to make a positive impact through their actions in this new year.

Upworthy and P&G Good Everyday wanted to help keep kindness going strong, so they partnered up to create the Lead with Love Fund. The fund awards do-gooders in communities around the country with grants to help them continue on with their unique missions. Hundreds of nominations came pouring in and five winners were selected based on three criteria: the impact of action, uniqueness, and "Upworthy-ness" of their story.

Here's a look at the five winners:

Edith Ornelas, co-creator of Mariposas Collective in Memphis, Tenn.

Edith Ornelas has a deep-rooted connection to the asylum-seeking immigrant families she brings food and supplies to families in Memphis, Tenn. She was born in Jalisco, Mexico, and immigrated to the United States when she was 7 years old with her parents and sister. Edith grew up in Chicago, then moved to Memphis in 2016, where she quickly realized how few community programs existed for immigrants. Two years later, she helped create Mariposas Collective, which initially aimed to help families who had just been released from detention centers and were seeking asylum. The collective started out small but has since grown to approximately 400 volunteers.