In the midst of the massive coverage surrounding the hashtag, #OscarsSoWhite and the discussion about the lack of diversity in Hollywood award’s shows, Viola Davis is the next actress of color to come forward on the matter. Davis, who has been nominated twice at the awards show, joins the discussion, breaking down the problems with the Academy and this conversation. And while she may agree with Jada Pinkett Smith’s sentiment, she says the problem is not with the Academy but a greater issue.
Davis told Entertainment Weekly that the issue goes beyond the Academy. “The problem is not with the Oscars, the problem is with the Hollywood movie-making system.”
She also highlights Hollywood’s lack of distribution of Black films. “How many Black films are being produced every year? How are they being distributed? The films that are being made, are the big-time producers thinking outside of the box in terms of how to cast the role?” she continues, “can you cast a Black woman in that role? Can you cast a Black man in that role?”
In the past couple of years, there have been few black-casted or produced films to hit theaters. And among those to make it to theaters a handful have been split into two categories, being movies like Tyler Perry films or the Wayans brother’s parody flicks, which showcase black casts in a comedic spotlight, and films such as Selma, or The Help, all of which focus on the struggle of the black man or woman. The parodies often fail to be recognized and the dramas, although often recognized, typecast black actors in this singular role.
Davis went on to speak more about the issue. “The problem isn’t even our pay. You could probably line up all the A-list Black actresses out there [and] they probably don’t make what one A-list white woman makes in one film,” she said. “That’s the problem. You can change the Academy, but if there are no Black films being produced, what is there to vote for?”