Last year’s nominations included 12 Years a Slave, which took home Best Picture, Lupita Nyong’o won Best Supporting Actress, and Steve McQueen, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Barkhad Abdi were nominated for Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actor.
Asked about this year’s lack of black nominees, and whether the academy has a race problem, academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs replied “Not at all.”
“The good news,” Boone Isaacs said, “is that the wealth of talent is there, and it’s being discussed, and it’s helpful so much for talent — whether in front of the camera or behind the camera — to have this recognition, to have this period of time where there is a lot of publicity, a lot of chitter-chatter.”
The issue of diversity at the Oscars came to the forefront after the movie “Selma” was snubbed this year.
During an interview, filmmaker Spike Lee said director Ava DuVernay and the cast should ignore the snub.
“Join the club!” Lee said. “But that doesn’t diminish the film. Nobody’s talking about motherf*ckin’ Driving Miss Daisy. That film is not being taught in film schools all across the world like Do the Right Thing is. Nobody’s discussing Driving Miss Motherf*ckin’ Daisy. So if I saw Ava today I’d say, ‘You know what? F*ck ’em. You made a very good film, so feel good about that and start working on the next one.”
He continued: “Anyone who thinks this year was gonna be like last year is retarded,” said Lee. “There were a lot of black folks up there with 12 Years a Slave, Steve [McQueen], Lupita [Nyong’o], Pharrell. It’s in cycles of every 10 years. Once every 10 years or so I get calls from journalists about how people are finally accepting black films. Before last year, it was the year [in 2002] with Halle Berry, Denzel [Washington], and Sidney Poitier. It’s a 10-year cycle. So I don’t start doing backflips when it happens.”