The Hollywood Reporter asked the five nominees for 2016’s Best Director Oscar for their opinion on the current call for more diversity, which came in response to the Academy failing to nominate any non-white actors for two years in a row.
Three of the five directors seemed to understand their responsibility in tackling the overwhelming whiteness (and maleness) of the movie industry: Spotlight’s Tom McCarthy, The Big Short’s Adam McKay, and Mad Max: Fury Road’s George Miller acknowledged that it’s everybody’s job to create a more inclusive industry.
But the other two directors gave less than satisfactory answers to the question of diversity in Hollywood, pushing the blame onto U.S. culture at large. Room director Lenny Abrahamson said, “It’s part of a much bigger problem across the whole culture. It’s a problem that, for me, as an outsider [he’s Irish] can only be addressed if there is real political will to change fundamentally how things work in the U.S.”
The Revenant director Alejandro G. Iñárritu said, “I think the problem is beyond Hollywood. It’s a problem of the culture in general, and this has to be discussed in depth and with kindness.” Although Iñárritu also noted that the vast array of American diversity is what makes the country what it is, he stopped short of asking Hollywood to actually represent that America in the films it produces.