Emmy Award-winner Viola Davis has some ideas for how to improve diversity at the Oscars.
In a red carpet interview before ELLE’s annual Women in Television Dinner on Wednesday, Davis told ET that the problem “is not with the Oscars,” but with “the Hollywood movie-making system.”
“How many black films are being produced every year? How are they being distributed,” she said to ET correspondent Nischelle Turner on the questions Academy voting members should ask themselves in order to fix the issue. “The films that are being made, are the big-time producers thinking outside of the box in terms of how to cast the role? Can you cast a black woman in that role? Can you cast a black man in that role?”
On Tuesday, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs released an official statement on behalf of the Academy via Twitter regarding the Oscars’ lack of diversity. The statement promised plans to take “dramatic steps” to alter the makeup of its membership in order to “bring about much-needed diversity” to future shows.
Next week, the organization’s 51-member Governing Board will also address a number of proposals during its regularly scheduled meeting — including the membership process and recruitment.
Despite the Academy’s swift reaction, the roots of the issue, as Davis told ET, go deep. “You can change the Academy, but if there are no black films being produced, what is there to vote for?”
The 88th annual Academy Awards, hosted by Chris Rock, will air live on ABC on February 28. Read more of Viola Davis’ reaction to this year’s Oscar nominations here.