In an exclusive post published to Variety today, George Clooney has weighed in on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy currently making its mark on all parts of the industry. Clooney’s statements follow in the footsteps of Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith, both of whom agreed to boycott the ceremony due to the Academy’s lack of diversity among this year’s nominees. Last night, “Selma” actor David Oyelowo and Academy President Cheryl Boone Issacs also weighed in on the subject, agreeing that big changes have to happen sooner rather than later.
As has been widely publicized, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences failed to nominate a single actor of color for the second year in a row. The problem runs deeper, however, as Best Director nominee Alejandro González Iñárritu (“The Revenant”) is the only non-white talent up for any major Oscar this year. Considering this year featured no shortage of diverse nominees to choose from — from Samuel L. Jackson in “The Hateful Eight” to features like “Dope,” “Beasts of No Nation,” “Chi-Raq” and more — the Academy’s complete white washing of the nominee fields is receiving more backlash than ever before. While movies like “Creed” and “Straight Outta Compton” did receive nominations, they both were for their white components — Sylvester Stallone in the former and four white screenwriters in the latter.
While Clooney won’t be boycotting the Oscars like Lee and Smith, he did share similar sentiments to Oyelowo in explaining that the problem boils down to opportunities for minority actors and talent. “If you think back 10 years ago, the Academy was doing a better job,” he writes. “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?”