Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen has spoken out, for the second time, about the Academy Awards’ diversity controversy.
In an interview with The Guardian, the “12 Years a Slave” director said, “This is exactly like MTV was in the 1980s,” adding, “Could you imagine now if MTV only showed music videos by a majority of white people, then after 11 o’clock, it showed a majority of black people? Could you imagine that happening now? It’s the same situation happening in the movies.”
The director then made reference to a 1983 David Bowie clip that spread around the web following the music icon’s death in which he questions the music network’s underrepresentation of black artists.
“Hopefully, when people look back at this in 20 years, it’ll be like seeing that David Bowie clip in 1983,” he said. “I don’t even want to wait 20 years.”
McQueen continued, expressing hope that “in 12 months or so, we can look back and say this was a watershed moment, and thank God we put that right.”
The director also discussed the #OscarsSoWhite issue last week in an interview with the BBC.
After pointing out that a lack of audience interest wasn’t the problem, McQueen said, “It’s about executives. Giving those storylines and those actors a fair bite.”
The “Shame” director joins the ever-growing list of stars who’ve spoken openly about Hollywood and diversity, especially in regards to the Oscars.
David Oyelowo, who appeared in last year’s “Selma” and was notably snubbed for a nomination for his role as Martin Luther King Jr., addressed the issue by saying, “The Academy has a problem. It’s a problem that needs to be solved. For 20 opportunities to celebrate actors of color, actresses of color, to be missed last year is one thing; for that to happen again this year is unforgivable.”
The controversy began following this year’s Oscar nominations announcement; not a single actor of color is up for an award this year.
In the wake of all the backlash, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs issued an official statement expressing how “heartbroken and frustrated” she felt about the lack of inclusion.
Since then, the Academy has pledged to change its membership composition and diversify its leadership beyond the board of governors.