Steven Spielberg revealed in a recent interview that he is ‘not 100 percent behind’ the plan proposed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to hopefully diversify Oscar nominees in the future.
The three-time Oscar winner – who received his sixteenth nomination this year for producing Best Picture nominee Bridge of Spies – said that he does not agree with the plan to take away the memberships of individuals who have not been active in the industry for 10 years or more, and also does not think their is any real racism among Academy members.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter at a taping of their Awards Chatter’ podcast, the legendary director said; ‘You have to look back a couple of years, where Lupita [Nyong’o] was recognized for 12 Years a Slave [and] 12 Years a Slave won best picture, you know? I don’t believe that there is inherent or dormant racism because of the amount of white Academy members.’
Spielberg did however point out that he believes Straight Outta Compton and Idris Elba’s performance in Beats of No Nation should have been nominated by the Academy.
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Thoughts: Steven Spielberg (above on Thursday with his wife Kate Capshaw) said in a recent interview he is not fully behind the plan put forth by the academy to encourage more diversity
Opinion: The three-time Oscar winner said that he does not believe members are that racist, and pointed out that 12 Years a Slave (above) won Best Picture three years ago
Spielberg also said during his interview on the idea of taking away memberships; ‘I’m also not 100 percent sure that taking votes away from Academy members who have paid their dues and maybe are retired now and have done great service – maybe they’ve not won a nomination, which would have given them immunity to the new rules, but they have served proudly and this is their industry too – to strip their votes?
‘I’m not 100 percent behind that.’
Spielberg has had no problems with diversity in his own films, directing and producing The Color Purple which was nominated for 11 Oscars including acting nods for stars Whoopi Goldberg, Oprah Winfrey and Margaret Avery.
As for the Oscar diversity issue which drew Spielberg into making these comments, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced on last month a plan to diversify the membership moving forward.
‘The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,’ said Boone Isaacs.
‘These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition.’
In a statement, the Academy said that the ‘goal is to commit to doubling the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020.’
The plan on doing this by inviting more diverse members to join and ending the memberships of any individuals who have not been active in the industry for over a period of 10 years.
Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee led the charge in calling for a boycott of this year’s Oscars following the complete absence of non-white nominees in the acting categories.
Jada’s husband Will Smith later said he too would be boycotting the ceremony.
Films including Creed and Straight Outta Compton did receive recognition at this year’s awards, but for their white star and white writers respectively.
Big winner: Spielberg, who is nominated for the sixteenth time this year, also said he against members being booted if they have not been active in the industry (above with his two Oscars for Schindler’s List in 1994)
No Best Picture nom: Spielberg did however note that he believes Straight Outta Compton (above) should be nominated
Inexplicable: Spielberg also does not understand how Idris Elba was not nominated for Beasts of No Nation (above)
Meanwhile actors including two-time Oscar nominee Julie Delpy and Charlotte Rampling, who is nominated for her first Oscar this year, have come under fire for statements they have made about the Academy’s diversity problem.
Delpy had to apologize for her response to a question about the lack of diversity at this year’s Academy Awards after saying African Americans have it easier in Hollywood than women because ‘people don’t bash them.’
‘I’m very sorry for how I expressed myself,’ Delpy told Entertainment Weekly about her comments .
‘It was never meant to diminish the injustice done to African American artists or to any other people that struggle for equal opportunities and rights, on the contrary.
‘All I was trying to do is to address the issues of inequality of opportunity in the industry for women as well (as I am a woman).’
Rampling meanwhile said of the proposed Oscar boycott in an interview with Europe 1 Radio in Paris; ‘It’s anti-white racism. Maybe black actors don’t deserve to be on the final stretch?’
Backtrack: Julie Delpy (above) apologized after saying that it is harder being a woman than African American in Hollywood during an interview
She then added; ‘Why classify people? They feel like a minority, they think: “We’re the black actors and there are not enough of us.’
Rampling later issued a statement to CBS Sunday Morning about her comments, saying; ‘I regret that my comments could have been misinterpreted this week in my interview with Europe 1 Radio.
‘I simply meant to say that in an ideal world every performance will be given equal opportunities for consideration. I am very honored to be included in this year’s wonderful group of nominated actors and actresses.’
There is one bright young non-white star who did receive a nomination however this year – Abęl Tesfaye.
The 25-year-old Canadian, who is of Ethiopian decent, has been nominated for Best Original Song for his work on Earned It which appeared on the Fifty Shades of Grey soundtrack.
It was a surprising nod for the pop star who is better known by his stage name, The Weeknd.
He will face off against Lady Gaga, Sam Smith, J. Ralph and David Lang in that category – who are all white.