As the Oscars D-word debate rages, Hollywood’s biggest stars are being forced to be enlightening. The latest takes come from Helen Mirren, who says this year’s Academy nominations “just so happened to be that way,” and Ethan Hawke, who supports an Oscars boycott.
In an interview with Channel 4 News, Mirren was asked about the Academy’s antiquated system and this year’s batch of all white nominees. “I think it’s unfair to attack the Academy. It just so happened this year it went that way,” she says, before going on to praise Idris Elba’s role in Netflix’s Beasts of No Nation.
“One of the reasons it went that way—Idris Elba absolutely would have been nominated for an Oscar. He wasn’t because not enough people saw, or wanted to see, a film about child soldiers.”
Weird logic, since plenty of movie-goers routinely watch films about horrible, violent things. Mirren made sure, though, to clarify that she’s not dismissing the exclusionary practices that plague her industry.
“I’m saying that the issue we need to be looking at is what happens before the film gets to the Oscars, what kind of films are made, and the way in which they’re cast, and the scripts,” she says, parroting a general consensus. “It’s those things that are much more influential ultimately than who stands there with an Oscar.”
Mirren says she’s not attending this year’s ceremony because she wasn’t going to anyway.
Ethan Hawke, meanwhile, had a more point-blank approach to this debate, telling Page Six at an event on Tuesday that a boycott might be necessary. “It’s going to take a few generations for them to really represent the community,” he says of the 86-year-old Academy. “I got to sit next to Denzel Washington the night he won the Oscar [for ‘Training Day’], and Sidney Poitier was there, and Halle Berry won that night and it kind of seemed like all this was over.”
Hawke adds that it seems “the tide has gone out and pulled back in... So people need to shout. People need to be upset.”
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