Cynthia Erivo says it is ‘saddening’ to be only non-white Oscars acting nominee

By Tom Horton, PA

Cynthia Erivo has said it is “saddening” that she is the only person of colour to be nominated in an acting category at the Oscars.

Speaking to the Hollywood Reporter, she labelled the ceremony’s lack of diversity as “a real eye-opener”.

Erivo has been shortlisted in the best actress category for her role in the film Harriet, which is about American anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman.

All the other 19 nominees in the acting categories are white.

Cynthia Erivo said the lack of diversity at the Oscars is a ‘real eye-opener’ (Ian West/PA)

The British actress told the magazine: “It can’t just be me alone.

“There’s just such good work going on and this may sound fatalistic, but I would hate for people’s work to have gone by and then for us to have looked back and go, ‘Oh, I wish we would’ve given roses’, when people aren’t there to actually receive them.

“I don’t want us to do that.

“To be in a room and not being able to see other actors (of colour) who are nominated, to not be able to share that with another black actress is saddening.

“I would love to share this moment with someone else.”

Sunday’s Baftas event was criticised for a lack of diversity among nominees and singer-songwriter Erivo said she refused to perform at the ceremony after being asked by organisers.

Erivo said she ‘can’t help but to speak out’ (Ian West/PA)

She said: “There are black actors who have reached out and said, ‘Thank you very much, congratulations and well done’.”

Erivo said she is willing to take political stands because she is “stubborn”.

“I have a thing about injustice and fairness. When I feel like that is being endangered, it makes the hairs prick up on my neck. I can’t help but to speak out.”