George Clooney has added his voice to the growing protest against the lack of diversity at this year’s Oscars nominations, saying “African Americans have a real fair point” about the industry not “representing them well enough”.
Hollywood celebrities like Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee have spoken out against the white Oscars as people of colour failed to get nominated in the all four acting categories and the directing category for the second year in a row.
Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs issued a statement saying she was “frustrated about the lack of inclusion.”
Clooney, 54, said the issue was bigger than the Oscars nominations as enough representation was lacking in the industry for African Americans.
“.... I don’t think it’s a problem of who you’re picking as much as it is: How many options are available to minorities in film, particularly in quality films?,” Clooney told Variety in an interview.
The actor said there were a lot of points that needed to be looked at including the pay disparity between male and female stars, against which Jennifer Lawrence and Patricia Arquette have raised their voices.
“I think that African Americans have a real fair point that the industry isn’t representing them well enough. I think that’s absolutely true.
“Let’s look back at some of the nominees. I think around 2004, certainly there were black nominees like Don Cheadle, Morgan Freeman. And all of a sudden, you feel like we’re moving in the wrong direction. There were nominations left off the table,” Clooney said.
The star said “Creed”, “Concussion”, “Beasts of No Nation” and “Straight Outta Compton” could have been nominated along side.
“... And certainly last year, with ‘Selma’ director Ava DuVernay I think that it’s just ridiculous not to nominate her.
“But honestly, there should be more opportunity than that. There should be 20 or 30 or 40 films of the quality that people would consider for the Oscars. By the way, we’re talking about African Americans. For Hispanics, it’s even worse. We need to get better at this. We used to be better at it.”