Denzel Washington admits the Academy Awards are “unfair” but doesn’t think people should use a lack of diversity as an “excuse”.
The 61-year-old actor – who picked up the Best Actor prize in 2002 and Best Supporting Actor in 2990 and has had an additional four nominations – has “lived” through and experienced the lack of diversity at the Oscars firsthand.
Asked what he thinks about the criticism of the Oscars for not being diverse, he said: “”I don’t have to think about it, I’ve lived it.
“I’ve been the guy at the Oscars without my name being called. I’ve been the guy at the Oscars when my name is called. I’ve been the guy at the Oscars when everybody thought they were going to call my name and they didn’t. So I’ve lived it.”
The Oscars have faced criticism after only white performers have been nominated in the acting categories at the last two ceremonies, but the ‘Fences’ actor insists the apparent inequality shouldn’t be seen as an “excuse”.
He added in an upcoming interview on ’60 Minutes’: “Yeah, and so what? You going to give up? If you’re looking for an excuse, you’ll find one. … You can find it wherever you like. Can’t live like that. Just do the best you can do.”
Denzel’s comments come shortly after Will Smith suggested he will boycott the Academy Awards for the second year running next year.
The 48-year-old actor and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith joined a range of celebrities in protesting against the apparent lack of diversity amongst the 2016 nominations, and has hinted that he will do the same this year, regardless of whether he receives a nomination or not.
He said: “You know what, there was a time in my life when box office was everything.
“You know, if you didn’t get nominated you were under the bed for three weeks and all of that.
“It’s always fun to be invited to the party, but that’s all it can be.”
But the ‘Concussion’ star isn’t holding a grudge against the Academy, as he said earlier this year he was “very pleased” at the speedy response given by the board who said they aimed to double its number of female and minority members by 2020.
He said at the time: “I was very pleased at how quickly and aggressively the Academy responded. But I want to be very clear about the spirit of what I’m saying. This is far beyond me. This has nothing to do with me, this has nothing to do with awards. Awards, that’s a really frivolous reason for me to put my hand up and make a statement. For me, this is much more about the idea of diversity and inclusion.”