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Viola Davis Says the Diversity Problem is 'Not With the Oscars'

Viola Davis Says the Diversity Problem is 'Not With the Oscars'

Viola Davis is weighing in on the diversity problem in the entertainment industry that has been put in the limelight following the 2016 Oscars nominations last week.

“The problem is not with the Oscars, the problem is with the Hollywood movie-making system,” the two-time Oscar nominee told Entertainment Tonight.

“How many black films are being produced every year? How are they being distributed? The films that are being made, are the big-time producers thinking outside of the box in terms of how to cast the role?” Viola continued. “Can you cast a black woman in that role? Can you cast a black man in that role?”

“The problem isn’t even our pay,” she added. “You could probably line up all the A-list black actresses out there [and] they probably don’t make what one A-list white woman makes in one film. That’s the problem. You can change the Academy, but if there are no black films being produced, what is there to vote for?”

Viola was asked if she will be attending this year’s show and she said she won’t be as she will be on vacation. She also said it should be Chris Rock‘s choice if he wants to host still, not celebs who think he should step down.

“Like I said, the Oscars are not really the issue,” Viola said. “It’s a symptom of a much greater disease. But if he does, I hope he takes it as an opportunity to make a statement, a social statement about change. It’s 2016.”

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Posted to: 2016 Oscars, Viola Davis

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  • Barthelemy

    She has a lot of great work, a lot of money, more than most people. With her status and opportunities why doesn’t she try to find more black writers and directors?

  • 777

    Finally someone makes some sense.

  • Dan_nb

    She is right! Viola is amazing!

  • gilmore

    She’s openly talked about how hard it is for her to get roles even at the status that she’s at now. It’s not as if it’s hard to find poc writers and directors out there, it’s just that those who are higher up are rarely giving them a chance. You can create all you want, but if it’s not being green lighted or financed or even listened to what good is that going to do? Especially when those with the power to make it happen automatically assume that no one wants to see diversity.

  • plez

    Of course she is right. This is why Will and Jada’s boycott is such garbage. If they really want to take a stand then Will should negotiate that he will take a lower pay or no points for Bad Boys but would like to make two movies for about 12 to 20 million dollars plus promotion.

  • Emmp

    Again … Hollywood defining “diversity” as only including one other race, black.

  • millerz

    she is absolutely right. Make more diverse movies and more diversity will be recognized. I think its a horrible idea to just nominate people because of the color of their skin as if to fill some sort of quota when maybe their performance wasn’t as good as a person of a different race or ethnicity. It shouldn’t be a competition on color as it is a performance but because of all this “boycotting” and before Viola spoke up I was afraid that would happen. Years ago I went in for a job at a company I will not name and I went to three interviews and they ultimately didn’t give me the job and I was told POINT BLANK that they had a quota to fill and they “had to hire the black applicant.” Now here I am a white girl, who doesn’t have a racist bone in her body, not getting a job because they had to hire someone of color or anyone other than a white person. I was more qualified than this person but I didn’t get the job specifically because I WAS WHITE and that’s exactly what I was told. I don’t think that’s fair to her or me!! She should get the job because she deserves it just as much as anyone else and I should as well. I actually felt bad for her!!! This is exactly what this whole Oscars thing reminds me of. People aren’t being disregarded on purpose, its just that there wasn’t a lot to choose from, and other performances stood out more. And Boo hoo will smith didn’t get nominated, him & Jada come off as completely entitled people.

  • shoes4life

    Thank you Viola! You are absolutely correct.

  • jimrussell

    Pardon us while we spoiled children grandstand. It’s not at all complicated. You have a few self important jerks that
    like small children want desperately to get their way by holding their breath,stomping their feet, and throwing a hissy fit. News flash nitwits, the Oscar’s are and always have been an award for exceptional artistic achievement. They are not a means to promote a political agenda, in this case diversity. So children deal with it, turn blue and roll on the floor, the adults are going to enjoy the show and you and your tantrums will not be missed.

  • Anastatia Bagans

    A smart BLACK woman. Thank you!

  • Swagsaad

    She is right! Viola is so smart

  • Hello=)

    She makes a good point.

  • Barthelemy

    Well from afar I can say that she gets a lot of roles and seems very rich , so I see her as a very fortunate person, especially because a couple of years ago nobody really knew her. I’m dure there are pic writers and directors, maybe the thing is, that they aren’t as many as other cultures. But they should encourage them to start writing and directing. the thing is, i doubt and black artists would apreciate it if a white artist demanded that a black role be changed for a white person. It’s kind of a double standard. As far as being green lighted, it,s hard for many artists and maybe sometimes it’s because the work is not good enough, no matter the color of their skin. Yes for more diversity but people have to make it happen, and that starts by truly creating more work.

  • Baseliner

    she is right! stop making it seem like the Academy is the problem. it;s the heads of the studios (mostly white men) who do not fund other projects

  • Macbride

    Go Viola! Looking forward to How to get away with murder this February!

  • Eathan Crane

    She doesn’t make a good point as she is stating more black films should be produced. That is not the way of creating diversity, that is creating segregation. More films like Fast and Furious that have diverse actors should be made, so you have white, black, latin, asian etc. actors.

  • Marie Bunny Shepard

    Bravo Viola ! To speak true, and not just follow the political-correctness-with-no-ideas river ! She is absolutely right (as Whoopi Goldberg btw).
    But I’m not ok about the black film part. We need diversity. QUALITY diversity (don’t talk to me about the F&F franchise. We’re talking Oscars here.) I mean, the issue will be really over when a black / latino / asian person will be cast to play a non-race specific character. That this person will be cast just because of his/her talent. And NOT the play the criminal or slave (black), drug dealer or terrorist from middle-east (latino. and yeah, when they cast them to play people from India or middle-east… priceless huh?), and poor non-english speaking or accountant (asian).

  • Eathan Crane

    I am not talking that F&F is Oscar worthy, i am talking about diversity, and F&F has that. And more movies need to follow in those footsteps and have more diversity. And not just black.

  • VanityInsecurity

    what Ive been saying all along. Thanks Viola!

  • siennagold


  • kellyf

    Says the woman who has won an Oscar, Emmy, SAG, Critics Choice, and Tony award.

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