A Comprehensive List of Celebrities Who Have Spoken Out About the Lack of Diversity at the Oscars
By John Boone
For the second year in a row, the #OscarsSoWhite.
Of the 20 acting nominations at this year's Academy Awards, all 20 went to white actors. Now, actors like Jada Pinkett Smith and directors like Spike Lee have called for a boycott of the award show. Here are all the people who have spoken out, one way or another, about the lack of diversity.
(We will continue updating this post as more actors discuss the issue.)
"We're hearing a lot about diversity. I hate that word so, so much," DuVernay said, via The NY Times. "I feel it's a medicinal word that has no emotional resonance, and this is a really emotional issue. It's emotional for artists who are women and people of color to have less value placed on our worldview. There's a belonging problem in Hollywood."
She continued, "Change has to happen, it has to happen with the people who dictate who belongs. It's disconcerting to hear people say that shouldn't change. That's the very reason it should."
"It is racist to whites," Rampling said on French radio station Europe 1. "One can never really know, but perhaps the black actors did not deserve to be on the final list. Why classify people? We now live in a place where everyone is more or less accepted. There are so many problematic things said: 'He's too handsome; him, he's too black; he’s too white.' There is always someone to say: 'You are too...' But will we say, 'We should classify everything in a way that will make sure there are lots of minorities everywhere'?"
She later claimed that her comments had been "misinterpreted." "I simply meant to say that in an ideal world every performance will be given equal opportunities for consideration," Rampling said.
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy President
"Of course it's disappointing," Boone Isaacs told ET. "[There were] a lot of tremendously good films. There's Straight Outta Compton, Concussion, Creed, Dear White People, Dope, OK? I hope this isn't discouraging for anybody and for filmmakers in particular. You just keep moving along. You keep out there. We will keep out there. We will keep pushing that pedal. We're going to keep pushing it."
Chris Rock, Academy Awards Host
"The #Oscars. The White BET Awards," Rock tweeted.
"I suppose in a way it's already been effective because there has been a reaction in terms of the Academy working on changing their policy," Radcliffe told E! Online. "It's the start of a conversation that feels like we shouldn't need anymore because particularly in this industry, we think of ourselves as being liberal [and] very progressive. We need to put our money where our mouth is."
"It's unfortunate that the entire country is a racist country," DeVito told the Associated Press. “This is one example of the fact that even though some people have given great performances in movies, they weren't even thought about."
He continued, "We are living in a country that discriminates and has certain racist tendencies. So, sometimes it manifests in things like this, and it’s illuminated. But just generally speaking, we’re a bunch of racists."
"The Academy has a problem. It’s a problem that needs to be solved," Oyelowo said at the King Legacy Awards. "The reason why the Oscars are so important is because it is the zenith, it is the epitome, it is the height of celebration of artistic endeavor within the filmmaking community. We grow up aspiring, dreaming, longing to be accepted into that august establishment because it is the height of excellence."
He continued, "I would like to walk away and say it doesn't matter, but it does, because that acknowledgement changes the trajectory of your life, your career, and the culture of the world we live in. I am an Academy member and it doesn’t reflect me, and it doesn’t reflect this nation."
"I saw somebody on your show today say, 'Well, what do we do with BET?'" Trump said on Fox & Friends. "The whites don't get any nominations, and I thought it was an amazing interview, actually. I've never even thought of it from that standpoint. I’ve watched over the years where African Americans have in fact received Academy Awards and have in fact been represented and this is not one of those years, but over the years I’ve seen numerous black actors and African American actors receive awards and I think that’s great."
"Yo, Chris. Come check me out at #TheOscars this year. They got me parking cars on G level," Cheadle tweeted.
"If you think back 10 years ago, the Academy was doing a better job," Clooney told Variety. "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. There were nominations left off the table. 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.
He continued, "Honestly, there should be more opportunity than that. There should be 20 or 30 or 40 films of the quality that people would consider for the Oscars. By the way, we’re talking about African Americans. For Hispanics, it’s even worse. We need to get better at this. We used to be better at it."
"For me personally, I’m kind of in the midst of trying to figure it out, knowing full well that there were definitely a lot of movies that could have been up for Oscar contention," Rodriguez told ET. "But I think you also have to look at the diversity on the Academy’s board. It's not as diverse as reflected in today's society. There should be more movies that are made with diverse faces."
"I think we deserved Best Picture. Especially by them leaving two categories out. They usually pick 10 movies, they only picked eight this year," Cube said on Power 105.1. "I do what I'm supposed to do to promote the project. I ain't gonna kiss no ass for nothing. Maybe that is the problem, or maybe we should have put a slave in Straight Outta Compton. I think that's where we messed up. Just one random slave for the Academy to recognize us as a real black movie."
Jada Pinkett Smith
"At the Oscars, people of color are always welcomed to give out awards, even entertain, but we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments," Pinkett Smith wrote on Facebook. "Should people of color refrain from participating all together? People can only treat us in the way in which we allow. With much respect in the midst of deep disappointment, J."
"I think the lack of diversity is a huge shame and it’s a big problem," Krasinski told the Associated Press. "Everyone has the right to be as upset as they are, because they should. I think that it's something that we should pay attention to. But my feelings are, beyond the Oscars, though I think it's a shame, I don't know that they should be taking all the responsibility."
He continued, "In our industry, certainly, it's really about looking to who's telling what story, who's being allowed to direct, who's being allowed to act in it. I think that needs to change. I think that the more diverse roles there are for directors, actors, writers, producers, on every level, the better our business is. So, that's where I think the changes need to start."
"Two years ago, I said something about the Academy being very white male, which is the reality, and I was slashed to pieces by the media," Delpy told The Wrap. "It's funny -- women can't talk. I sometimes wish I were African-American, because people don't bash them afterward. It's the hardest to be a woman. Feminists is something people hate above all. Nothing worse than being a woman in this business. I really believe that."
She later apologized to Entertainment Weekly. "All I was trying to do is to address the issues of inequality of opportunity in the industry for women as well," Deply said.
"Being at Sundance on the narrative jury with some really smart folks, watching a wide range of films with a wide range of perspectives, is a reminder of how necessary diverse representation truly is," Dunham wrote on Instagram. "The conversation happening around the Oscars is essential and overdue."
She continued, "It is not disrespectful to the current nominees. It is not an indictment of any one actor. It is a call to action for our industry to change the way we work on every single level. As someone who has been on the receiving end of criticism about diversity, the only thing I know for sure is that our job is to listen- not to defend ourselves. What's to defend?"
"I am disappointed by the lack of inclusion in this year's Academy Awards nominations," Nyong’o wrote on Instagram. "It has me thinking about unconscious prejudice and what merits prestige in our culture. The awards should not dictate the terms of art in our modern society, but rather be a diverse reflection of the best of what our art has to offer today. I stand with my peers who are calling for change in expanding the stories that are told and recognition of the people who tell them."
"To clear up any confusion. I will be going to the Oscars in support of the victims of clergy Sexual Abuse and good journalism," Ruffalo tweeted. "I do support the Oscar Ban movement's position that the nominations do not reflect the diversity of our community. The Oscar Ban movement reflects a larger discussion about racism in the criminal justice system. I hope the Oscar Ban people are also willing to step up and support the #BlackLivesMatter movement. Where black bodies are in jeopardy daily."
"You know, it's shameful and embarrassing," Damon told Us Weekly. "There's two years in a row that there are no people of color nominated. That's insane." Of the Academy's "historic" changes to address the issue, he continued, "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."
"There's loads of black actors," Caine told BBC Radio 4. "You can't vote for an actor because he's black. You can't just say, 'I'm going to vote for him. He's not very good, but he's black. I'll vote for him.' You have to give a good performance...I don't know whether Idris got nominated, cause I saw Idris, and I thought he was wonderful. Did he not get nominated? Well, look at me. I won the [European Film Award] for Best Actor, and I got nominated for nothing else."
He continued, "The great thing about it is you don't have to go. Especially, the Oscars. 24 hours on an airplane, and I'm going to sit there clapping Leonardo DiCaprio. I love Leonardo, he played my son in a movie, but I'm too old to travel that far to sit in an audience and clap for someone else...Be patient. Of course it will come. It took me years to get an Oscar."
“In reference to Will and Jada -- and I love them -- they've already won," Mo’Nique told V-103. "Will is one of the few multi-million dollar actors that is of color. Ten years ago, the word was that he was getting $20 million a film. If you're getting $20 million a film, y'all have already won. Do we stand up over a gold plated trophy? Or do we stand up and say we need equal wages and equal treatment? Are we standing up now because it’s in your backyard? Because the Oscars was no different last year. The Oscars have not been any different for what, 89 years?"
She continued, "But why do we keep wanting to get thrown a bone? Why do we want to keep saying 'Can we please come to your party?' Instead of saying, 'We have a party over here and we welcome everybody, but we're not begging to come to you party.' I think it’s a bigger picture to be arguing over a trophy."
"I don't know if avoiding it altogether is going to help, but I just think we have to continue to move forward,” Nash told ET. "We have this awareness and this spotlight -- we've got to look at other work. There's other work out there that I think was missed. We’ve just got to do better."
"They called me to go present with Pharrell and Common. When I'm back, I'm going to ask [them] to let me speak for five minutes on the lack of diversity. If not, I'm not going to [present]," Jones said, via The Hollywood Reporter. "I've been involved with Academy longer than I care to remember. I was the first black board member. I hate 'first black,' because that means 'only.' There are two ways to do it, you can boycott or you can fix it. It's frightening to see 90 percent white and 80 percent white male."
"So disappointed that some of 2015's best films, filmmakers and performances were not recognized," Witherspoon wrote on Facebook. "Nothing can diminish the quality of their work, but these filmmakers deserve recognition. As an Academy member, I would love to see a more diverse voting membership."
"Somebody was actually like am I gonna watch the mother**king Oscars. F**k no," Snoop said in an Instagram video. "What the f**k am I going to watch that bulls**t for? They ain’t got no n*****s nominated. All these great movies and all this great s**t ya’ll keep stealing from us. F**k you!"
"How is it possible for the second consecutive year all 20 contenders under the actor category are white?" Lee wrote on Instagram. “And let's not even get into the other branches. 40 white actors in two years and no flava at all. We can't act?! WTF!!...For too many years when the Oscars nominations are revealed, my office phone rings off the hook with the media asking me my opinion about the lack of African-Americans and this year was no different. For once, (maybe) I would like the media to ask all the white nominees and studio heads how they feel about another all-white ballot. If someone has addressed this and I missed it then I stand mistaken."
He continued, "As I see it, the Academy Awards is not where the 'real' battle is. It’s in the executive office of the Hollywood studios and TV and cable networks. This is where the gate keepers decide what gets made and what gets jettisoned to ‘turnaround’ or scrap head. This is what’s important...As the great actor Leslie Odom Jr. sings and dances in the game-changing Broadway musical, Hamilton, 'I wanna be in the room where it happens.’ People, the truth is we ain’t in those rooms. And until minorities are, the Oscar nominees will remain lilly white."
"I don't think this is a 'black' issue. I think this is our issue,” McQueen told The Guardian. "If people want to categorize it as a black issue, that's weird. Just like if I was talking about women in film. It's my issue, too. It's our issue. It's about we. W-E, not M-E."
He continued, "This is exactly like MTV was in the 1980s. Could you imagine now if MTV only showed music videos by a majority of white people, then after 11:00 it showed a majority of black people?...It's the same situation happening in the movies. Hopefully, when people look back at this in 20 years, it'll be like seeing that David Bowie clip in 1983. I don't even want to wait 20 years. Forgive me. I’m hoping in 12 months or so we can look back and say, 'This was a watershed moment, and thank God we put that right.'"
"We don't make movies to get accolades, frankly. It's very nice when your peers and your cohorts are honored. We're so happy for Sylvester Stallone,” Thompson told ET. "I think he gives the best performance of his career and so we're happy to see him honored. It's a complicated thing. 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. And that's absolutely true...So I'm hoping in this next year, we'll see some change."
"Is Chris Rock still gonna host the Oscars after this blatant racism?? Is everyone still gonna show up??" Tyrese wrote on Facebook. "In this town, I guess it takes homosexuals to be discriminated against in order for someone to finally step UP and wanna do something. You have to take your hat off to the homosexual and gay community cause right now they're as strong as black people USE to be when it comes to their rights...For the record...... I HATE that this is all happening on the year that Leonardo DiCaprio is gonna win his first Oscar for BEST ACTOR...... Leo looooooveeessssss black people!!!!!! Leo in my homie!!!!!"
"The problem is not with the Oscars. The problem is with the Hollywood movie making system," Davis told ET. "The problem is with the people who are in power, who have the yay or the nay vote. How many black films are being produced every year? How are they being distributed? The films that are being made, are the big-time producers out there thinking outside of the box in terms of how to cast the role. Can you cast a black woman in that role? Can you cast a black man in that role?"
She continued, "The problem isn't even our pay...You could probably line up all the A-List black actresses out there [and] they probably don't make what one A-List white woman makes in one film. That's the problem. You can change the Academy, but if there are no black films being produced, what is there to vote for?"
"It's not that the problem is that the people who are nominated are too white," Goldberg said on The View. "They're not looking at a movie and saying, 'Oh, that's very white. I'm not going to nominate that black movie.’ They're not sitting there like that! What the problem is, the people who can be helping to make movies that have blacks and Latinos and women and all that -- that movie doesn't come to you. Because the idea is that there's no place for black movies."
She continued, "In the history of movies, there has not been a plethora of black movies made, because people think we don't want to see movies with black people in them. So, until you start making movies like The Avengers with more than 70 white folks saving the earth -- and I am mad about this, you know why? Because I would like to be one of those people saving the earth, but they're not coming to me!...I'm not going to boycott, but I will continue to b**ch all year round. You wanna boycott something? Don't go see the movies that don't have your representation. That's the boycott you want."
"I think diversity is the American superpower," Smith said on Good Morning America. "For me, at its best, Hollywood represents and then creates the imagery for that beauty. For my part, I think that I have to protect and fight for the ideals that make our country, and make our Hollywood community, great. So when I look at the series of nominations for the Academy, it's not reflecting that beauty…It feels like it’s going in the wrong direction."
He continued, "Had I been nominated and no other people of color were, [Jada Pinkett Smith] would have made the video anyway. We would still be having this conversation. This is so deeply not about me. This is about the children that are going to sit down and watch this show and they aren't going to see themselves represented."
As for the actors who did get nominated, here is how they responded: