While on the scene at the Sundance Film Festival this weekend, Danny DeVito took a moment to comment on the tinderbox subject diversity in the entertainment industry, and the actor-producer didn’t mince words at all. Bluntly attributing the lack of diversity in Hollywood and subsequently in awards-recognized films to systemic racism, he said that “it’s unfortunate that the entire country is a racist country.” He also noted that it’s just one instance in which “even though some people have given really great performances in movies, they weren’t even thought about. We’re living in a country that discriminates, and has certain racist tendencies.” He goes on from there, and you can watch the whole thing above.
The video also features Don Cheadle and Sam Neill weighing in on the matter. Cheadle echoed similar comments he made last night after the screening of his Miles Davis biopic Miles Ahead. “I applaud [The Academy’s] attempt to do something about it, which is great, but again,” he said, “this is dealing with the symptom and not starting at the root cause, how we even get to results like this.” Meanwhile, Neill was somewhat more diplomatic and self deprecating, but said that he is “baffled” by this year’s nominees. “I would have thought that Idris Elba and Sam Jackson would have been a shoo-in for nominations.”
The comments come amid a continuing firestorm stemming from the near total lack of nonwhite nominees for this year’s Academy Awards. The near total snubbing of Straight Outta Compton and the fact that neither Creed director Ryan Coogler nor its star Michael B. Jordan received nominations has been a particular sticking point, with calls from the likes of Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee for a boycott of the 2016 ceremony. The Academy responded to these criticisms yesterday with the announcement of a huge overhaul of membership rules designed to increase the number of women and minority voters in the academy.