“Welcome to Diverse TV” – SAG Award Winners Call Out the Oscars
After all the drama surrounding the all-white acting nominations for this year’s Academy Awards – from Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith protesting the Oscars to white actors chiming in and telling minorities to “be patient” – it turns out the most powerful response is showing the Academy how diversity in Hollywood is done.
The SAG Awards took place over the weekend, and one glance at the list of winners from movies and television is enough to put the Oscars to shame on the diversity front. Not only were actors of color well-represented, but they didn’t hesitate to speak out about the issue, including a few pointed remarks about the recent controversy.
Idris Elba, who was snubbed by the Oscars this year, won the supporting actor award for Netflix film “Beasts of No Nation” and another award for TV crime drama “Luther” – and while he was gracious about it, he set the tone for the rest of the night with this line: “Welcome to diverse TV.”
Other notable wins for actors of color were Queen Latifah for HBO’s “Bessie” and Viola Davis for “How to Get Away With Murder.”
Speaking backstage, Davis seemed to allude to the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag and how we have become “a society of trending topics.” (We at What’s Trending will accept that criticism, Ms. Davis.)
“Diversity is not a trending topic. It’s just not. I’ve always considered myself an actor since I got my equity card in 1988. I’ve never put any limitations on myself. […] No matter what is going on in the business, I will find a way to practice my art. And all of the actors of color that I know don’t place any limitations on themselves either. So regardless of what is going on with the Academy, regardless what is going on in Hollywood, they will find a way to be excellent. We always have and we always will.”
Following her win for “Orange Is the New Black,” Uzo Aduba praised the SAG Awards for giving actors the chance to represent their industry. “You know what it feels like? It’s amazing to see actors have the opportunity to celebrate other actors’ work and to feel empowered by the voting process so they can see whatever actor they want reflected up there. And I’m honored to have been chosen by my peers.”