Meryl Streep has told the media at Berlin Film Festival that “we’re all African really,” in answer to questions about her role at the head of an all-white festival jury, as well as her understanding of films from different corners of the world.
Asked by an Egyptian reporter about her understanding of films from North Africa and the Middle East, Streep replied:
“I’ve played a lot of different people from a lot of different cultures. There is a core of humanity that travels right through every culture, and after all, we’re all from Africa originally. Berliners, we’re all Africans, really.”
Streep also emphasized that she’s in favour of equality for “all genders, races, ethnicities, religions,” at the press conference yesterday (February 11), adding that “This jury is evidence that at least women are included and in fact dominate this jury, and that’s an unusual situation in bodies of people who make decisions.”
Four of the seven jury members at the festival are women. The Berlin Film Festival started yesterday (February 11), and runs until February 21.
Streep’s comments come in the build up to this year’s Oscars, which have caused controversy due to the lack of racial diversity in the nominations, with all twenty nominated actors white.
As a result, Will Smith has announced he will boycott the awards, saying:
“We’re part of this community but at this current time, we’re uncomfortable to stand there and say that this is okay. I think I have to fight for and protect the ideals that make our country and make our Hollywood community great. So when I look at the series of nominations of the Academy, it’s not reflecting that beauty.”
This year’s Oscars ceremony takes place on February 28.