Helen Mirren is defending the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, saying it’s “unfair” to criticise the organisation over the Oscars’ diversity controversy.
For the second year in a row, all 20 actors nominated are white, which prompted criticisms against both the Academy and Hollywood for a lack of recognition given to minorities.
“I think it’s unfair to attack the Academy. It just so happened this year, it went that way,” the Oscar winner said in an interview with the U.K.’s Channel 4 News.
Though not nominated for an Oscar this year, Mirren was nominated for both a Golden Globe and a SAG Award for her portrayal of Hedda Hopper in “Trumbo.” She mentioned Idris Elba, fellow Golden Globe nominee and SAG Award winner for Netflix’s “Beasts of No Nation,” as someone who could have been nominated for an Oscar.
“Idris Elba absolutely would have been nominated for an Oscar,” she said. “He wasn’t because not enough people saw or wanted to see a film about child soldiers.”
She added that she’s not excusing the Academy for the lack of diversity; rather, the problem extends to Hollywood in general.
“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.”
Following the backlash, the Academy has announced plans to restructure its membership by doubling minority and female members by 2020.