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George Clooney Sounds Off on Hollywood Diversity and the Oscars

By Kevin Burwick — September 11th, 2017

George Clooney says that the Oscars are not to blame for diversity issues in Hollywood. The actor and humanitarian has stated that the real issues in Hollywood over diversity start with studios and executives, not the Academy Awards. The Academy Awards have come under fire the last few years for a lack of diversity in the award winners. 2017 appeared to attempt to add more diversity to the awards ceremony after 2 straight years of almost all male Caucasian winners, but does the blame fall squarely on the Oscars?

2016 was when the industry got a true shakeup with the Oscars So White controversy when not one person of color was nominated in an acting category when movies like Creed and Straight Outta Compton showed some true promise during that award season. The backlash and negative press led to the 2017 awards show going out of its way to get away from the "old white man" version of Hollywood that is still prevalent today. Moonlight won best picture after an embarrassing mistake when it first announced that La La Land originally won.

George Clooney recently talked to IndieWire while promoting Suburbicon and commented on the lack of diversity in Hollywood. 56-year old Clooney was very frank and straight to the point about his position on the situation. Instead of blaming an awards show, Clooney went to the root of the problem, which is the industry itself. Clooney believes that the movie industry needs to change their ways before we start to see a real change at the awards shows. It's already looking like the 2018 Oscars could be a repeat of 2016, but where does that blame actually go? Clooney says that the Academy Awards are not the issue here. Clooney had this to say.

"It's less about the Academy and more about the industry. I think we need to get more interesting young minority filmmakers getting their films out. It was great to see 'Moonlight' do what it did. I'm happy to see that. We need more of those."

Clooney has a valid point, but couldn't the Academy Awards do a little bit better at leveling the playing field when it comes to diversity in the show and therefore starting a trend for new and upcoming directors to get their voices heard? Clooney also brought up a lack of creativity in the industry and that it has become complacent. As an example, the actor brings up The Dark Tower's Idris Elba. Clooney explains.

"Clearly, the star system isn't what it used to be, where you put a name out there and everybody comes to see the movie. So why isn't Idris asked to play this guy? Why isn't Idris in line for the next Bond? Where is the studio's imagination?"

George Clooney added that he would rather see more minority filmmakers work their way into the industry, echoing the rise of Mexican filmmakers in Hollywood over a decade ago, the so-called "Three Amigos" of Alfonso Cuaron, Alejandro Gonzalez Iñarritu, and Guillermo del Toro, whose The Shape of Water just won the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival. Clooney also went on to talk about women in Hollywood and the need for more female-centric projects. When it comes down to it, Clooney is placing the blame on Hollywood studio executives.

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