Dame Helen Mirren has spoken out in defence of the Oscar Academy over the on-going race row surrounding this year’s nominations.
The 70-year-old actress told Jon Snow on Channel 4 News: “It’s unfair to attack the Academy.”
Then when asked if she thought that the motion picture body was ‘behind the times’ in its voting, for managing not to nominate a single black or minority actor for the second year running, she added: “It just so happened this year it went that way.”
Using an example of one of the stars snubbed, Idris Elba for 'Beast of No Nation’, she said: “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.”
She added, that while not excusing it, things need to change much earlier than when the Academy decides to name its films of the year, and that it’s the system that is more at fault.
“I’m saying that the issue we need to be looking at is what happens before the film gets to the Oscars, what kinds of films are made and the way in which they’re cast, and the scripts,” she said.
“It’s those things that are much more influential, ultimately, than who stands there with an Oscar.”
Much has been made of the failure to recognise the achievements of black actors this year, with the likes of Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee, whose movie 'Chi-Raq’ failed to receive any nods, among those boycotting the event.
Asked if she’d be boycotting the Oscars, she joked: “I wasn’t going anyway. And neither was Spike Lee!”
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