By the time the dust settled on the 2014 Oscars, the field was already crowded with contenders for the honor, from Christopher Walken, to Scarlett Johansson, to Bradley Cooper, to Leonardo DiCaprio.
But it was the film industry’s own star of the moment, Stanley Kubrick, who emerged as the frontrunner, with his portrayal of the black protagonist, Carl Weathers, in the 2014 film, Carlito’s Way.
Kubrick has been hailed as a black icon in the United States for decades.
He has played many iconic roles, including the title character of the TV show Big Bang Theory, and is the only black person ever to win the Best Actor Oscar for his portrayal in the 1970 film, The Birth of a Nation.
But the Oscar’s best actor honor is a rare occasion for the film’s director, Quentin Tarantino, to nominate a black actor for a second time.
In 2014, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences decided that Kubrick’s performance would be worthy of a nod.
In its statement, the academy described him as “a leading figure in the history of the Black experience in America.”
But a handful of the Academy’s members disagreed.
The Academy said it “does not recognize the nomination of Kubrick in this year’s Best Actor category for Carlito,” referring to the 1979 film, which starred Humphrey Bogart as a man who wants to be white but must hide his black ancestry from his family.
The Academy said the nomination was based on the fact that Kubricks film was nominated for best picture in the category.
The film is now available for streaming on Netflix.
“The Academy of Film and Television Arts and the Academy itself have been historically supportive of and committed to the advancement of Black people,” the Academy said.
“The Academy’s support for Carlita’s Cause is not an indication of its endorsement of any specific performance.”
However, in an email to The Associated Press, the Oscar Institute, which represents Academy members, acknowledged that the decision to honor Kubricks nomination was made by a committee of five members.
“That is one of the reasons we support our nominees in this case,” said Robert F. Kelly, the institute’s director of communications.
In a letter to the Academy on Sunday, he wrote that the award recognizes the importance of representation in the film business.
“But in this particular case, our vote reflects the recognition of the work of many other talented Black actors who are deserving of the nomination, and the recognition that there is more than one path to the best picture Oscar,” he wrote.
The film was released last year and is nominated for the award for best director, best actor, screenplay, cinematography, and photography.
The Associated Press asked the Academy about the nomination and received a statement from the academy.
The statement said the Academy recognizes that the film was a critical and critically acclaimed film, and that the nominations recognize Kubricks performance.
“It is the policy of the academy that no Academy member or nominee may be nominated for a nomination for Best Director or Best Actor unless the nomination is based on their work,” it said.