Emma Thompson’s Unusual Solution to #OscarsSoWhite Controversy? Kill Oscar Membership ‘Off Slowly’

Emma Thompson
Emma Thompson Mark Robert Milan/GC Images

Game, set, match. Emma Thompson is the latest celebrity to offer her two cents about the ongoing #OscarsSoWhite controversy, but the British actress is taking a different approach.

“It’s hilarious,” the Oscar-winner commented to the Belfast Telegraph at a recent event. “It’s no change there. It’s not as if it’s ever been awash with people of color. Let’s face it, the Oscar membership is mainly old, white men. That’s the fact of it. Either you wait for them all to die, or kill them off slowly. There’s so many options, aren’t there?”

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Thompson, 56, was referring to the generally older, white, male-skewed demographic that has historically made up the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The make-up of the group has been identified as one of the possible reasons why there has been a lack of diversity in the last two years’ Oscar nominees.

In January, Jada Pinkett Smith started a wave of reactions surrounding the issue after she shared a video of herself calling for a boycott of the awards show to protest the diversity problem.

Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced shortly afterward that the Academy will be making changes to address the industry’s concerns, with the goal of doubling minority and female membership by 2020.

“I was very pleased at how quickly and aggressively the Academy responded,” Pinkett Smith’s husband, Will Smith, said in an interview with BBC Breakfast on Friday, January 29. “But I want to be very clear about the spirit of what I’m saying. This is far beyond me. This has nothing to do with me, this has nothing to do with awards. Awards, that’s a really frivolous reason for me to put my hand up and make a statement. For me, this is much more about the idea of diversity and inclusion.”

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Other bold-faced names — including Spike Lee, Stacey Dash, Mark Ruffalo and Reese Witherspoon — have similarly weighed in on the controversy.

On Wednesday, January 27, President Obama spoke out about the ongoing diversity issue in Hollywood.

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“I think when everybody’s story is told, then that makes for better art,” he said to reporters. “It makes for better entertainment. It makes everybody feel part of one American family. So I think, as a whole, the industry should do what every other industry should do, which is to look for talent, provide opportunity to everybody.”

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