George Clooney and Whoopi Goldberg have added their influential voices to the debate over the lack of diversity among the Oscar nominees.
For the second year running, the Academy nominated only white stars in the acting categories, resulting in a boycott by major stars such as actress Jada Pinkett Smith and director Spike Lee.
Now George Clooney has said the Academy is moving in the wrong direction: “I think around 2004, certainly there were black nominees – like Don Cheadle, Morgan Freeman. And all of a sudden, you feel like we’re moving in the wrong direction,” he told Variety.
Clooney also said he was surprised to learn Creed, Beasts of No Nation and Straight Outta Compton had been overlooked for Oscars. “I think that African Americans have a real fair point that the industry isn’t representing them well enough,” he added. “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?”
Meanwhile, former host Whoopi Goldberg said she will not be boycotting the event: “Boycotting doesn’t work and it’s also a slap in the face to Chris Rock.” Rock himself has faced some pressure to drop out as host of this year’s event following high profile criticism of the event.
Goldberg, however, added that although she will attend, she will not remain silent on the issue: “I’m not going to boycott but I’m going to continue to bitch, as I have, all year round because I’m tired of seeing movies where no one is represented except a bit of the population,” she said.