The Academy Awards has received severe backlash this Oscar season due to the many actors and actresses of color who didn’t receive nominations. While Jada Pinkett-Smith passionately called for a boycott from this year’s ceremony, Oscar winner George Clooney also voiced his disappointment with the Academy’s lack of diversity.
“If you think back 10 years ago, the Academy was doing a better job,” Clooney said. “Think about how many more African Americans were nominated. I would also make the argument, 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, who won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor for his role in 2005’s Syriana, spoke with Variety not only about the recent Oscar outrage that prompted the Twitter hashtag #OscarSoWhite, but Hollywood’s overall treatment of women. Clooney, 54, also listed several nominees he believed proved they should’ve been nominated for the coveted golden statue.
“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 ended his rant by acknowledging that as difficult as it’s been for African American actors to earn a nod, Hispanics have it twice as hard.
“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.”