NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Tuesday, January 19, 2016, 2:00 PM
Hollywood mainstay George Clooney is giving a big thumbs down to the level of diversity in Hollywood, saying the industry is “moving in the wrong direction.”
The white actor joined the growing ensemble cast upset over a second-straight year without a single person of color among the nominees up for an acting Oscar.
“If you think back 10 years ago, the Academy was doing a better job,” Clooney told Variety. “Think about how many more African-Americans were nominated. I would also make the argument, I don’t think it’s a problem of who you’re picking as much as it is: How many options are available to minorities in film, particularly in quality films?”
Clooney’s comments come on the same day the Rev. Al Sharpton called for nationwide “tune out” of the Feb. 28 telecast. Director Spike Lee, who won an honorary Oscar in November, and actress Jada Pinkett Smith announced on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day Monday that they are boycotting the awards ceremony.
Clooney also told the industry trade magazine that the imbalance extends to women — though he gave props to Jennifer Lawrence and Patricia Arquette for drawing attention to the issue.
The “Ocean’s Eleven” star, a voting member of the Screen Actors Guild, also shared his not-so-secret ballot.
“You feel like we’re moving in the wrong direction,” Clooney added. “There were nominations left off the table. There were four films this year: ‘Creed’ could have gotten nominations; ‘Concussion’ could have gotten Will Smith a nomination; Idris Elba could have been nominated for ‘Beasts of No Nation;’ and ‘Straight Outta Compton’ could have been nominated.
“And certainly last year, with “Selma” director Ava DuVernay — I think that it’s just ridiculous not to nominate her.”