Actor Danny DeVito has weighed in on the recent Oscars controversy involving Jada Pinkett Smith, Spike Lee, and their recent threats to boycott this year’s Academy Awards due to the lack of black nominees for any sort of major, individual recognition.
The 71-year-old TV and film star DeVito has surprised many who follow Hollywood with the full candidness of exactly what he had to say.
In particular, DeVito, while speaking during an appearance at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, blamed American society at large for the Oscars snub, saying, “We’re all a bunch of racists.”
The It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia star continued,
It’s unfortunate that the entire country is a racist country. So it’s an example of the fact that even though some great people have given some great performances in movies, they weren’t even thought about. We are living in a country that discriminates and has certain racist tendencies. So sometimes it manifests itself in stuff like [the Oscar nominations] and it’s illuminated. But just generally speaking, we’re a bunch of racists.
Despite the veracity of his words, Danny DeVito’s thoughts do highlight the concerns of many regarding potential discrimination in the U.S. film industry.
For the second straight year, for example, the Academy Awards failed to nominate a single black actor or actress for any individual acting category, prompting the creation of the trending #OscarsSoWhite on Twitter.
— Variety (@Variety) January 23, 2016
The problem, however, could run much deeper than an Oscar snub for Will Smith, Morgan Freeman, or Samuel L. Jackson.
In fact, per data published by the International Business Times, just 31 out of 2,900 Oscars — or approximately 1 percent of winners — have been awarded to an African American since the awards were first established in 1927.
“The nominations reflect the Academy, the Academy reflects the industry, and the industry reflects America,” said actor Will Smith, who many feel was among those snubbed for an Oscar nomination for his role in the movie Concussion. Smith vowed to stand by his wife Jada Pinkett Smith in her boycott of the Academy Awards, according to the Staten Island Advance.
“It reflects a series of challenges that we are having in our country at the moment,” he continued. “There’s a regressive slide toward separatism, toward racial and religious disharmony, and that’s not the Hollywood that I want to leave behind.”
The full Associated Press video version of DeVito’s rant, meanwhile, also features comments from actors Don Cheadle and Sam Neill, each of whom also express disappointment with the recent glaring lack of black nominees at the Oscars.
In particular, Cheadle, who is known for starring roles in racially charged films such as Crash and Hotel Rwanda, spoke positively regarding the Academy Awards’ recent membership-and rule-change announcement. Despite the kind words, however, Cheadle did take time to speak out against the underlying problem he believes actually necessitated this change.
“[The Academy Awards’ new membership rules] is dealing with the symptom,” clarified Cheadle. “[But it’s] not starting at the root of the cause of how do we even get to results like this.”
On the lighter side, DeVito also drew a lot of laughs last week while appearing on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon alongside Khloe Kardashian.
The 31-year-old Keeping Up With the Kardashians star took a picture for her Instagram in which she posed with DeVito in a mock pose reminiscent of the actor’s famous movie poster for DeVito’s 1998 blockbuster hit movie Twins, which also featured his then-co-star Arnold Schwarzenegger.
[Image by Danny Moloshok/AP Images]