Creed star Tessa Thompson was part of one of the year’s most critically-acclaimed films, one that saw the top of most “snubbed” lists and became central to this year’s #OscarsSoWhite discussion when the Academy honored the film with only one Oscar nomination, for supporting actor Sylvester Stallone.
Started after last year’s nominations were announced, #OscarsSoWhite was revived in 2016 when the Academy again failed to nominate non-white actors in any of the main or supporting categories. Thompson weighed in on the campaign, as well as the proposed Oscar boycott, opening up to The Insider at the off-Broadway premiere of Smart People on Wednesday.
“It's a complicated thing,” said the 32-year-old actress, who has also starred in Academy-snubbed films like Selma and Dear White People. “I'm really happy with the invention of #OscarsSoWhite and talk about a boycott that has the Academy now thinking, ‘We probably need to think about our membership.’ If we want diversity in the nominations, we need diversity in the people that are voting.”
Thompson was not nominated for her performance in Creed, nor was star Michael B. Jordan or director Ryan Coogler. Also snubbed was Netflix movie Beasts of No Nation, starring Idris Elba, and N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton, which received just one nomination for its four white screenwriters. Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs released a statement on Monday saying she was "heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion" in this year’s nominations.
“I'm hoping in this next year we'll see some change and that we won’t have the need for the hashtag,” Thompson continued. “But I think people wanting to organize themselves around it to start a conversation is completely valuable and I'm inspired that the Academy has responded in the way they have.”
For the actress, the question is further complicated by the recognition for Stallone, who has not been nominated for an Academy Award since he lost both Best Actor and Best Original Screenplay for Rocky in 1977. Stallone reprises his role as Rocky Balboa in Creed, coaching the son of his former rival, played by Jordan.
“We don't make movies to get accolades, frankly,” Thompson added. “It's very nice when your peers and your cohorts are honored, we're so happy for Sylvester Stallone. I think he gives the best performance of his career and so we're happy to see him honored.”