No inherent or dormant racism in Oscars: Steven Spielberg

Los Angeles, Feb 12 (IANS) Filmmaker Steven Spielberg has broken his silence over the lack of diversity among the nominees of the 88th Academy Awards, saying that racism has not been an “inherent or dormant” part of the Oscars as far as history is concerned.

Citing the example of “12 Years a Slave”, the three-time Oscar winner said the Academy is equal for all, reports hollywoodreporter.com.

“You have to look back a couple of years where Lupita (Nyong’o) was recognised for ’12 Years a Slave’ (and) ’12 Years a Slave’ won Best Picture, you know,” Spielberg said.

“I don’t believe that there is inherent or dormant racism because of the amount of white Academy members.

“I’m also not 100 percent sure that taking votes away from Academy members who have paid their dues and maybe are retired now and have done great service – maybe they’ve not won a nomination, which would have given them immunity to the new rules, but they have served proudly and this is their industry, too – to strip their votes? I’m not 100 percent behind that,” he added.

Spielberg was, however, surprised about the fact that the Academy did not nominate “Straight Outta Compton” for Best Picture or “Beasts of No Nation” star Idris Elba for Actor in a Supporting Role.

“I’m a huge supporter of the Academy Awards. I was surprised at some of the individuals who were not nominated. I was surprised at (the exclusion of) Idris (Elba) – I was surprised at that. I think that was one of the best performances in the supporting actor and the actor category, was Idris,” he said.

“I’ve seen ‘Straight Outta Compton’ – my wife and I saw it when it first opened, the first weekend, and it just rocked our world. It was incredible. I was very surprised to see that omission,” he added.

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