Viola Davis Says Nearly All-White Oscar Nominees Are a 'Symptom of a Much Greater Disease'

In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Viola Davis weighed in on the lack of diversity among this year’s Oscar nominees. “The problem is not with the Oscars, the problem is with the Hollywood movie-making system,” Davis said.

Davis said that lack of black nominees is less about the Academy’s voting process and the result producers envisioning and casting white actors in major roles. “The films that are being made, are the big-time producers thinking outside of the box in terms of how to cast the role?,” she asked. She added that producers should ask themselves, “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?”

Davis’s comments are a continuation of her speech following her history-making Emmy win in 2015. Davis, the first woman of color to win an Emmy for Outstanding Actress in a drama series, said during her acceptance speech, “The only thing that separates women of color from anyone else is opportunity. You cannot win an Emmy for roles that are simply not there.”

When asked whether or not she thinks Chris Rock should join Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee’s boycott of the awards ceremony, Davis said:

“Like I said, the Oscars are not really the issue. It’s a symptom of a much greater disease. But if he does, I hope he takes it as an opportunity to make a statement, a social statement about change. It’s 2016.”


As for Davis, she won’t be attending the Oscars. “I’m gonna be on vacation,” she said.

Image via AP.

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