ENTERTAINMENT
15/01/2020 7:37 AM AEDT

Stephen King On Oscars Nominees: ‘I Would Never Consider Diversity In Matters Of Art’

The comment by the famed author, who votes in three Oscars categories, spurred backlash, including a tweet from Ava DuVernay.

Stephen King may have unwittingly singled himself out as part of Hollywood’s diversity problem.

On Monday, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences received harsh criticism — once again — for its lack of women and people of color among this year’s Oscars nominees.

Shortly after the nominees were announced by presenter Issa Rae (who had quite the one-liner after naming those in the running for Best Director), the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite2020 began to trend on Twitter.

Amid the controversy, King decided to share his perspective on the social media platform. The wildly successful author began his argument by establishing himself as a member of the Academy, saying that he votes in three Oscar 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,” King wrote of his rationale for the individuals he voted to nominate. He added a cliffhanger: “That said...”

In his follow-up tweet he elaborated on his thoughts about the subject — and it’s pretty loaded.

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

In response, King received a tsunami of criticism. And ultimately, he gave a nod to the points his critics had made.

After King was flooded with deluge of backlash, he responded with tweets recognizing the challenges facing artists who aren’t white males. 

The Oscars’ diversity issue was spotlighted for many when, for the second consecutive year, all 20 acting nominees for 2015 films were white. Within days of the resulting uproar, the Academy announced changes aimed at increasing the number of its women and minority members by 2020.

Despite such efforts, the Academy this year failed to give Jennifer Lopez, who was nominated for a Golden Globe and a Critics’ Choice Award for her role in “Hustlers,” a supporting actress nod. Awkwafina, who made history when she won best lead actress at the Golden Globes this year for her role in “The Farewell” was also snubbed. Other shocking omissions included Eddie Murphy (“Dolemite Is My Name”) and Lupita Nyong’o (“Us”).

Notable snubs in the directing category — whose nominees, for the second consecutive year, are all men — were Greta Gerwig (“Little Women”), Lulu Wang (“The Farewell”), Marielle Heller (“A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood”), Lorene Scafaria (“Hustlers”) and Alma Har’el (Honey Boy).

The first ― and only ― female Oscar winner in the directing category was Kathryn Bigelow, for 2010′s “The Hurt Locker.” Gerwig was nominated for a best director Oscar in 2017 for her directorial debut, “Lady Bird.”