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Watch: Jessica Chastain Calls for More Diversity in Hollywood

Watch: Jessica Chastain Calls for More Diversity in Hollywood

The Oscars have always been dominated by white men, but its demographic lopsidedness became a flashpoint of anger yesterday when this year’s nominations failed to include Selma director Ava Duvernay, lead actor David Oyelowo, or supporting actress Carmen Ejogo. Those snubs were symptomatic of this year’s “prestige” pics in general, such as the lack of a female protagonist among the eight Best Picture nominees and the across-the-board whiteness of the 20 acting nominees (making this year’s ceremony the whitest since 1998)

Perhaps inspired by Cate Blanchett’s Oscar speech last year, in which the Best Actress winner decried “those… in the industry who are still foolishly clinging to the idea that female films with women at the center are niche experiences,” Chastain used her time at the Broadcast Critics’ Choice Awards podium yesterday to champion diversity. The hardworking star won the BCC’s inaugural MVP Award for her quartet of films this year: InterstellarMiss JulieA Most Violent Year, and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby trilogy. 

After thanking the usual people who needed to be thanked, Chastain subtly criticized the latent prejudice that governs Hollywood: “Today is Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday so it got me thinking about our need to build the strength of diversity in our industry and to stand together against homophobic, sexist, misogynistic, anti-Semitic, and racist agendas…. Martin Luther King, Jr. said, ‘Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter,’ and I would like to encourage everyone in this room to please speak up.”

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[via Awards Daily]

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