George Clooney On All-White Oscars: “We’re Moving In Wrong Direction”

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George Clooney Oscars Race Interview

By Shari Weiss

George Clooney Oscars Race Interview

(Getty Images)

George Clooney says the all-white Oscars nominations is a sign that the entertainment industry is “moving in the wrong direction.”

As Gossip Cop has reported, no black actors were among the nominees announced last week for the 2016 Academy Awards. This marks the second year in a row that all black contenders were snubbed and only white actors received nominations. Now, amid calls for a boycott by Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee, Clooney is weighing in on the controversy.

In an interview with Variety, the two-time Oscar winner says, “If you think back 10 years ago, the Academy was doing a better job. Think about how many more African Americans were nominated. 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?”

Clooney goes on to argue, “I find it amazing that we’re an industry that in the 1930s, most of our leads were women. And now a woman over 40 has a very difficult time being a lead in a movie. We’re seeing some movement. Jennifer Lawrence and Patricia Arquette have made the loud pronouncement about wage disparity, have put a stamp on the idea that we got to pay attention. But we should have been paying attention long before this.”

As for the black community, the actor-producer offers, “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.” Clooney points out, “Let’s look back at some of the nominees. 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,” Clooney continues. “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.”

Clooney further points out, “But 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.” He concludes, “We need to get better at this. We used to be better at it.”

Clooney’s comments come just hours after the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, said she was “heartbroken” over the racial issues and promised to make “changes” geared toward increasing diversity. Clooney is pictured above at the 2013 Academy Awards, after winning Best Picture for Argo.

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