Lee Daniels: Oscars So White Protestors Need To ‘Stop Complaining’

The lack of diversity in the Oscar nomination over the last 2 years has led to a huge amount of controversy. Protestors were provoked into such dismay because of the fact that all six acting nominations in the Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, and Best Supporting Actress categories have been white during this period. But director Lee Daniels has now come out and dismissed those that have protested the Oscars, insisting that they need to stop complaining.

Lee Daniels, who was nominated for the Best Director accolade back in 2010 for his work on Precious, made these comments to the New York Times, insisting that those that are complaining need to focus on their own work and not seek acceptance from the awards season. Lee Daniels stated the following.

“Go out and do the work. Oscars so white! So what? Do your work. Let your legacy speak and stop complaining, man. Are we really in this for the awards? If I had thought that way – that the world was against me – I wouldn’t be here now. These whiny people that think we’re owed something are incomprehensible and reprehensible to me. I don’t expect acknowledgment or acceptance from white America. I’m going to be me.”

Lee Daniels previously explained to The Real, via The Huffington Post, that he has looked to tone down aspects of films that discuss or approach race. Lee Daniels noted,

“I wouldn’t be where I was if I embraced racism. If I embraced it, then it became real. And if it became real, I would be an angry black man.”

Lee Daniels comments come at a time when he has helped to diversify television with the likes of Empire and Star. Alongside Danny Strong, Lee Daniels created Empire and co-wrote the pilot as well as directing it. Empire is now in its third season, and it continues to be met with impressive reviews.

Lee Daniels opens up about the Oscars So White controversy
[Image by Getty/Dimitrios Kambouris]

Meanwhile, Daniels is now splitting his attention on Empire with Star, which he has again co-created alongside Tom Donaghy. Set in Atlanta, Star revolves around three young singers that are trying to successfully navigate their way through the music business. Star will possess a hoard of original music, as well as musical fantasy sequences, while its first episode, which Daniels again directed and co-wrote, aired in the middle of December. Fox were clearly quite besotted with it, because they’ve already ordered 12 more episodes, which will commence from January 4.

However, during the same interview with the New York Times, Lee Daniels admitted that he’s well aware he’s already on a hiding to nothing with Star, because that’s just the way that the industry works. Lee Daniels remarked, “I’m doomed. Hollywood builds you up to take you down – I’ve learned that from many friends.”

[Image by 20th Century Fox]

While he’s found recent success on television, Lee Daniels originally shot to prominence thanks to his work on film. Daniels made his directorial debut with 2005’s Shadowboxer, but it was with 2009’s Precious that he really grabbed people’s attention. The drama received six Oscar nominations, while Mo’Nique won the Best Supporting Actress gong and Geoffrey Fletcher won the Best Adapted Screenplay award.

Lee Daniels then followed up Precious with The Paperboy and The Butler, which were released in 2012 and 2013, respectively. Both of these weren’t met with quite the acclaim that Precious received, however they still received plenty of positive reviews, with The Butler even going on to gross $176.6 million at the box office, too. Daniels is currently trying to develop a Richard Pryor biopic, too, which will be entitled Richard Pryor: Is It Something I Said, and will star Mike Epps and Oprah Winfrey.

[Featured Image by Getty/Alberto E. Rodriguez]