George Clooney Weighs In on Lack of Diversity Among Oscar Nominations
George Clooney has given his opinion on the recent Oscar controversy regarding the lack of diversity among this year’s nominations.
In an interview with Variety, Clooney remarked that the Academy is “moving in the wrong direction” while many nominations this year were “left off the table.” Clooney blamed the problem on Hollywood’s issue with hiring minorities.
“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 shared. “I think we have a lot of points we need to come to terms with. I find it amazing that we’re an industry that in the 1930s, most of our leads were women. And now a woman over 40 has a very difficult time being a lead in a movie.”
Clooney reflected on how the Academy has acknowledged actors of color in previous years, but did not recognize major contenders this year.
“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. There were four films this year: Creed could have gotten nominations; Concussion could have gotten Will Smith a nomination; Idris Elba could have been nominated for Beasts of No Nation; and Straight Outta Compton could have been nominated. And certainly last year, with Selma director Ava DuVernay — I think that it’s just ridiculous not to nominate her.”
Clooney continued to say that there should be more opportunities for the Academy to even consider and he was only referencing African-American roles. Clooney explained that “for Hispanics, it’s even worse. We need to get better at this. We used to be better at it.”
Clooney isn’t the first actor who has been outspoken since the Oscar nominations were announced. Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith took to social media to share their disappointment about the lack of diversity in the nominations. Both Lee and Pinkett Smith plan to boycott the ceremony on February 28. The lack of diversity also allowed the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite to resurface and trend on social media.
President of the Academy Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who is African-American, issued a statement regarding the lack of diversity citing it was time for a major change.
“I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees. While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion,” Isaacs said in a statement. “This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes. The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership. In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.”