George Clooney Sounds Off On Oscars Diversity Problem

George Clooney, a member of the Academy and a several time Oscar winner, has sounded off on the diversity problem plaguing the industry, and the nominations for the Academy Awards.

Clooney, who won an award for Best Actor in a Supporting Role for Syriana and another for his role as a producer on Ben Affleck’s film, Argo, has decided to talk about the huge problem the Oscars have.

As Variety magazine pointed out, #OscarsSoWhite has turned into such a driving force that the New York Times asked if the Oscars were “so dumb.” As the Inquisitr reported, it’s been such a heated debate that The Academy’s president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, issued another statement two years in a row about how frustrated she was by the diversity issue that seems to be plaguing Hollywood.

As for Clooney, he sat down with Variety for an interview on the topic. A vocal advocate, Clooney points to ten years ago, where it seemed like the Academy was doing a much better job recognizing the work of African American actors. He also went on to say that it’s reflective of the lack of opportunities afforded to minorities in Hollywood.

“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?”

The actor went on to say: “I think that African Americans have a real fair point that the industry isn’t representing them well enough. I think that’s absolutely true.”

Like many arguing about this issue, Clooney brings up the most obvious snubs, which have been discussed prior to the actor’s comments.

“There were four films this year: ‘Creed’ could have gotten nominations; ‘Concussion’ could have gotten Will Smith a nomination; Idris Elba could have been nominated for ‘Beasts of No Nation;’ and ‘Straight Outta Compton’ could have been nominated. And certainly last year, with ‘Selma’ director Ava DuVernay — I think that it’s just ridiculous not to nominate her.”

By being in a position of power, Clooney’s comments come at a time where this debate is heating up. That said, it should be noted that the diversity issue isn’t just an Oscars problem. For actress Whoopi Goldberg, who has hosted the Academy Awards numerous times, this is a larger indication of where we are in terms of opportunity for minorities.

On The View, Goldberg spoke about the way the industry treats minority performers, specifically African American actors. She suggested that they have to talk about this issue more than one time out of the year, which goes back to last year’s discussion around the same time, when an enormous snub was made to DuVernay’s Selma.

“Why is this a conversation that we only have once a year? Because every year we get all fired up and then the rest of the year no one says anything. It’s in your face all the time, when you go to the movies … you can’t b***h about it just at Oscar time.”

But as far as people like Jada Pinkett-Smith and Spike Lee boycotting the awards goes, Goldberg said: “Chris Rock is the host of the Academy Awards, and so to boycott him seems just as bad as what everybody is saying. To me, we have this conversation every year. It pisses me off.”

The time that Clooney referred to saw actors Don Cheadle and Morgan Freeman nominated for Oscars.

[Photo by Feng Li/Getty Images]