Helen Mirren thinks it’s “unfair” for people to blame the Academy for the diversity issue that has been the center of debate since the Academy failed to nominate actors of color for the second year in a row.
“I think it’s unfair to attack the Academy,” Mirren said in an interview with Channel 4 News in the U.K., which posted Wednesday. “It just so happens this year, it went that way.”
While she isn’t dismissing the fact that no person of color was honored in the Oscar nominations this year, she does believe that the issue stems not just from the Academy itself but from the kinds of films being made in Hollywood.
“The issue we need to be looking at is what happens to the film before it gets to the Oscars,” she said. “What kind of films are made. And the way in which they are cast. And the scripts. And go all the way back to the writing of the scripts. It’s those things that are much more influential ultimately than who stands with an Oscar.”
Mirren also had her own opinion about why Idris Elba, the supporting actor in Netflix’s “Beasts of No Nation,” wasn’t nominated, although she thinks he should have been.
“He wasn’t [nominated] because not enough people saw or wanted to see a film about child soldiers,” Mirren added.
Since the nominations were announced on Jan. 14, many people have been outraged at the lack of diversity in the industry. Some, like Will Smith and Michael Moore, have decided to boycott the event on Feb. 28.
In response, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced what it referred to as “a sweeping series of substantive changes” to its rules to promote diversity in Academy membership.