In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, director Steven Spielberg discussed the ongoing controversy on #OscarsSoWhite. He expressed some dismay at the exclusion of Straight Outta Compton and Idris Elba’s noteworthy performance in Beasts of No Nation. He did, however point to Lupita Nyong’o‘s recent win for 12 Years a Slave and the film winning Best Picture as indicators that “I don’t believe that there is inherent or dormant racism because of the amount of white Academy voters”.
Spielberg also disapproved of taking voting rights away from older Academy members no longer active in the industry but he did say that he supported the opening up of membership to diversity. But more than the Academy itself Spielberg pointed to “main gates of studios and independents”, stories being told “as areas in need of reform.”
Meanwhile, protestors trying to shed some light on lack of diversity in the nominations this year held signs that said #OscarsSoWhite outside the Oscar nominees luncheon on Monday. Inside, Eddie Redmayne (nominated for his role in The Danish Girl) was questioned on the diversity issue. “It’s certainly on everybody’s mind. And I think you can see the way it’s been handled as a positive step.”
Asked about his own films, Spielberg said, “when you look at the films I’ve made, and look at the people who’ve worked on those films – look at the diversity within the crew, within the cast – I’ve always [had it].”