George Clooney is the latest star to add his voice to the conversation surrounding the lack of diversity at the Oscars.
In a new interview with Variety, the actor shared his thoughts on what Hollywood, and the industry as a whole, needs to do to improve.
“If you think back 10 years ago, the Academy was doing a better job. Think about how many more African Americans were nominated,” he told Variety. “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?”
The “Tomorrowland” star continued, “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.”
Just to add a little more context: This year, not a single person of color is up for an award in any of the acting categories, male or female. The same thing happened in 2015.
Clooney pointed out that, in the past, there seemed to be more actors of color — like Don Cheadle and Morgan Freeman — recognized in the acting categories, before adding, “All of a sudden, you feel like we’re moving in the wrong direction. There were nominations left off the table.”
“‘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,” the actor said, before calling attention to Ava DuVernay’s snub last year for “Selma.”
“But honestly, there should be more opportunity than that,” Clooney conceded. “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.”
Clooney isn’t alone in his thinking. Fellow Hollywood stars, such as Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith, have all criticized the Academy for its failure to recognize actors of color, some going so far as to boycott the show. Most recently, “Selma” star David Oyelowo slammed the award show during a gala honoring Academy president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs Monday night.
“For 20 opportunities to celebrate actors of color, actresses of color, to be missed last year is one thing; for that to happen again this year is unforgivable,” Oyelowo said. “This institution doesn’t reflect its president and it doesn’t reflect this room. I am an Academy member and it doesn’t reflect me, and it doesn’t reflect this nation.”