Matt Damon on diversity

Matt Damon On The Oscars: ‘Shameful And Embarrassing’

Matt Damon is currently supporting the film Manchester By The Sea at the Sundance Film Festival, which he’s an acting producer on. The film stars Casey Affleck and Michelle Williams, but Damon walked the red carpet at Sundance to support the film.

While on the red carpet, Damon was asked about the lack of diversity in the Academy Awards nominations. This is interesting because of two reasons, one because Damon is currently nominated in one of the categories where the Academy decided to ignore minorities.

The second reason being that Damon sparked controversy of his own when he stated in his filmmaking docu-series Project Greenlight, that he, Ben Affleck, producer Effie Brown, and company shouldn’t be looking to diversify behind the camera, but rather in front.

Now, Damon is speaking on diversity again. When asked on the red carpet, the Bourne Identity actor said, “You know, it’s shameful and embarrassing. There’s two years in a row that there are no people of color nominated. That’s insane.”

As The Inquisitr reported, the Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs outlined a plan to take charge, so they can start getting the wheels in motion, instead of waiting for an industry that doesn’t seem like it’s catching up. Of Isaac’s new plan, that would renew memberships every 10 years, and accept new members based on referrals, Damon said the following.

“It’s a strong first step but that is all that it is, it’s a first step. This is going to be a very long road. … I was very happy that they did that.”

Later on, Damon expanded on his views on diversity outside of Hollywood. “We’re talking about huge systemic injustices around race and gender that are a lot bigger than the Oscars. They’re massive issues in our industry and in our country.”

As for the actor’s own foot in mouth incident back in September, Damon eventually apologized for offending people.

“I am sorry that they offended some people, but, at the very least, I am happy that they started a conversation. My comments were part of a much broader conversation about diversity in Hollywood and the fundamental nature of Project Greenlight, which did not make the show.”

Following the weeks of controversy that Damon’s comments caused, producer Effie Brown explained the position she was in when having to explain to her all-white panel the dangers of hiring a white man to capture and depict a black prostitute in a film, and the confrontation she got into with Matt Damon over the issue.

Of her relationship with Damon, Brown said, “Word on the street is I’m not his favorite person.” As for Affleck, she said, “Ben Affleck was the cat who had my back. Ben is down. All right, good! That was surprising to me, I thought it would be Matt, who has this liberal reputation. Honestly, I’m grown enough to say, ‘I’m not for everybody, not everybody likes me, and he may be one of those who just can’t stand you.'”

As for the Academy Awards, which airs on February 28, host Chris Rock threw his original script out the window so he can address #OscarsSoWhite controversy in full. It’s said that Rock and his team of writers are invigorated by the new material.

That said, some celebrities in Hollywood are boycotting, including director Spike Lee, Will Smith, and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith. Those mentioned have vowed not to attend or watch the ceremony. Actor Tyrese Gibson has called for Rock to step down from hosting, and actress and former Oscar host Whoopi Goldberg has said that boycotting will do nothing for the diversity problem in Hollywood.

[Photo by Vittorio Zunino Celotto/Getty Images]