American actress Viola Davis has spoken out about the controversy surrounding the upcoming Academy Awards’ all-white nominees.
The 50-year-old actress said that the problem concerning the all-white list of nominees for the awards night is not primarily the fault of the Oscars committee, but the entire Hollywood movie-making system.
Viola Davis joins Academy diversity debate, says the problem is “not with the Oscars” https://t.co/86omRNR4Ip
— TIME.com (@TIME) January 22, 2016
The two-time Oscar nominee said that it is the lack of films casting actors of color that makes it difficult for the Oscars’ voters to pick a more varied list of nominees.
The Doubt actress said that Academy Award voters should be asking a different set of questions about Hollywood’s film industry in general.
“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 said in an interview.
Viola Davis Talks About Having Greater Acting Opportunities for Black Actors on TV than Film
Viola Davis went on to say that the problem doesn’t even concern the pay of female black actresses, but rather the number of opportunities that are available to black actresses that would enable them to earn as much their white counterparts.
Simply put, the veteran actress is subtly calling for change not within the Oscars or their method of selecting nominees, but within Hollywood itself. More films should be made that cast actors of color.
Davis is simply following up on the acceptance speech she delivered when she made history for being the first actress of color to win an Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a drama series last year.
In her speech, Viola Davis said that the only barrier that separates actors of color from others is opportunity. If more roles for actors of color are included in TV shows and films, it would be easier for award voters to choose actors of color as nominees.
Viola Davis Mentions the Lack of Opportunity Available to Black Actresses in Hollywood
The Help actress has also said that she is not attending the awards show this year, not because she is boycotting it, but because she will be on a vacation.
In addition, she also shared her thoughts on her co-actors and actresses who are calling for this year’s Academy Awards host, Chris Rock, to boycott the show.
“Like I said, the Oscars are not really the issue,” she said. “It’s a symptom of a much greater disease.”
However, Davis emphasizes that if Rock does decide to continue hosting, she hopes he would take the opportunity to “make a statement” about this controversial issue.
— Access Hollywood (@accesshollywood) January 22, 2016
Last week, the list of nominees for the 88th Academy Awards were released, and for the second straight year, no actor of color was included in the list. Last year’s host, Neil Patrick Harris even opened the awards ceremony last year with the line, “Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest. Sorry, brightest.”
Some of the snubbed actors this year included Will Smith, Samuel L. Jackson, Idris Elba, and Michael B. Jordan. Jordan’s case was considered quite unique because he starred in the Rocky spin-off film Creed, in which he played Apollo Creed’s son.
— Bob Leweke (@WMRAnews) January 14, 2016
Sylvester Stallone returned as an old Rocky Balboa who decided to train his former opponent’s son. Stallone was nominated as best supporting actor, while Jordan and the film’s director, Ryan Coogler, were snubbed.
As a result, some black actors such as Jada Pinkett-Smith expressed their disappointment with the Oscars, and said in a Facebook video that she and her husband won’t be attending this year’s ceremonies.
Other notable actors of color who announced that they will be boycotting the show include director Spike Lee and his wife.
[Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images]