George Clooney Weighs In On Oscars 2016 Diversity Issue, Says Academy Was Better 10 Years Ago

12:16 AM EST 1/20/2016 by Rhea Pruto, Celebeat Reporter

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Amid calls for boycotts of the Oscars, George Clooney claimed that the Academy's awarding body is indeed moving backwards. The actor weighs in on the diversity issues surrounding this year's Oscar nominations and asserted that the Academy is flailing.

Speaking with Variety, the two-time Oscar winner and six-time nominee himself claimed that the Academy seemed to be already moving in the right direction since 2004 in terms of diversity, but this year proved that it is actually not. He added that several movies this year were not nominated even though they are worth the nominations.

"If you think back 10 years ago, the Academy was doing a better job," he told Variety. "Think about how many more African Americans were nominated," citing Don Cheadle and Morgan Freeman's nominations. However, this year's all-white nominees in the main acting categories is nothing but disheartening. He claimed that "Creed," "Concussion," "Beats of No Nation" and "Straight Outta Compton" should have been recognised. 

He did not focus on the lack of African American nominations only. He talked about other minorities suffering too--women and Hispanics. He said that back in 1930s, women can easily be the lead in a movie. Most of the leads were women back in those days. Today, however, women above 40 will not be able to get similar opportunities. He praised Jennifer Lawrence and Patricia Arquette for voicing the issue of wage disparity but claimed that the industry should have been aware already, way earlier. 

He added that while African Americans have every reason to be angry that they are not being represented proportionately, the situation for Hispanics is "even worse." "We need to get better at this," he declared. "We used to be better at it."

Ever since the Oscars 2016 nominations were made, the Academy has received endless flak for not nominating any black actors. Reuters reported that director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith have been very vocal about their displeasure. Both asserted that they will boycott the ceremony. 

On the Academy's part, it already acknowledged that improvements are needed, as Reuters reported. According to Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, even though they have been working in recent years to be more mindful of diversity, more changes have to happen and they need to happen faster. He added that membership recruitment will be reviewed.

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