Morgan Freeman speaks on Oscars diversity, says ‘we need more writers’

Actor says film industry's concerns run deeper than awards debate

Actor Morgan Freeman has said the lack of diversity in Hollywood is a problem within the entire industry.

He’s the latest star to join the likes of Will Smith, Ice Cube, Lupita Nyong’o and more in addressing the issues raised by a lack of diverse culture at The Oscars ceremony this year.

After all 20 acting nominees were white for the second year in a row, the Academy announced an overhaul to its voting and membership procedures on January 22.


“We need to go way back before the Academy Awards. We need to go back to [who’s] behind the camera, who’s helping to make movies,” Freeman told USA Today on Wednesday.

“I personally would try to encourage and do try to encourage writers,” Freeman said. “We need writers. If you’ve got stories to tell, that helps. That’s your biggest input. It’s unrealistic to me to say to a white studio, owned by white people, run by white people, ‘Well, why don’t you tell my story?'”

Earlier today (February 4), Helen Mirren had suggested it is “unfair” to criticise the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscar nominations.

“I think it’s unfair to attack the Academy. It just so happened this year, it went that way,” Mirren said when asked about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy by Channel 4 News.

“The issue we need to be looking at is what happens before the film gets to the Oscars, what kinds of films are made and the way in which they’re cast, and the scripts,” Mirren added. “It’s those things that are much more influential, ultimately, than who stands there with an Oscar.”

Mirren, winner of the Best Actress prize in 2007 for her role in The Queen, also said that Idris Elba should have been nominated this year for his performance in Netflix’s war drama Beasts Of No Nation.

“Idris Elba absolutely would have been nominated for an Oscar. He wasn’t because not enough people saw, or wanted to see a film about child soldiers,” she said.

The 88th Academy Awards ceremony will be held on February 28 at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.