Ava DuVernay criticises Stephen King over Oscar diversity comments

January 14, 2020 5:26:48 PM

Stephen King has been criticised by director Ava DuVernay after saying that the issue of diversity should not be considered by Oscar voters.

The author said he believed it would be wrong to think about anything other than quality when choosing nominees.

The Oscars sparked controversy yesterday when only one non-white performer was nominated in the acting categories – Cynthia Erivo for Harriet.

Female filmmakers were also excluded from the best director category.

King wrote on Twitter: “As a writer, I am allowed to nominate in just 3 categories: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Screenplay.

“For me, the diversity issue–as it applies to individual actors and directors, anyway–did not come up. That said…

“…I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong.”

Selma director DuVernay replied: “When you wake up, meditate, stretch, reach for your phone to check on the world and see a tweet from someone you admire that is so backward and ignorant you want to go back to bed.”

King later added: “The most important thing we can do as artists and creative people is make sure everyone has the same fair shot, regardless of sex, color, or orientation.

“Right now such people are badly under-represented, and not only in the arts.

“You can’t win awards if you’re shut out of the game.”

The Academy narrowly avoided a repeat of 2016’s #OscarsSoWhite controversy with Monday’s nominations but there is mounting anger and frustration that 19 of the 20 acting nominees across both the leading and supporting categories for men and women were white.

High profile potential contenders to miss out on nods included Us actress Lupita Nyong’o and The Farewell’s Awkwafina, as well as Just Mercy star Jamie Foxx and Dolemite Is My Name’s Eddie Murphy.

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