Oscar-nominated actor Don Cheadle is at the Sundance Film Festival promoting his directorial debut, “Miles Ahead,” a look at a dark period in the life of Miles Davis (played by Cheadle).
But the actor couldn’t escape talking about the controversy surrounding this year’s Oscar nominations and its lack of diversity.
“I guess I have to take some responsibility because I wrote a tweet that apparently was Earth shattering,” Cheadle told Business Insider, referring to this tweet to Chris Rock once the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag began to trend:
The actor told BI that was just him joking with Rock, but “The best jokes are about some real s***,” he added. “So I was joking about some real s***.”
But, to Cheadle, the recent attention to Hollywood’s diversity problem shouldn’t be focused on Oscar nominations. It should point to the decision-makers at the studios.
“It’s the executive level, where the money is being spent and the deals are being made,” Cheadle said, “these things are the underpinning of what happens in two weeks from now when someone gets a statue.” And, to Cheadle, when the time comes that executive suites inside Hollywood studios look similar to the diverse landscape of the country, the Oscars still won’t matter because, to him, it’s just a “silly contest.”
“That’s how I feel about it,” said Cheadle. “This isn’t about who scored the most points, this is about opinions and their subjective takes. Some [voters] haven’t even seen all the movies they’re voting on.”
The controversy surrounding this year’s Oscars has led actors like Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, ti announce they are boycotting this year’s awards. Director Spike Lee is doing the same. Cheadle said he wasn’t approached to boycott the Oscars and even if he was he wouldn’t have done it.
“Boycott the Oscars this year with Chris Rock as the host?” said Cheadle. “No chance in hell. This could be a career defining moment for him.”
“Miles Ahead” opens April 1.
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