British actress Emma Thompson has voiced her views on the #OscarsSoWhite debate this week, suggesting that the diversity issues could be fixed by “killing off” the Academy’s older white members.
The two-time Oscar-winning actress told the Belfast Telegraph that the Oscars not representing black actors is “hilarious” – noting that the Academy have always been institutionally racist.
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“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,” Thompson noted of the issue of diversity within the Academy’s membership.
The Academy’s voting rules and membership structure have been updated in the wake of the controversy in an effort to ensure more diversity among Oscars nominees in the future.
The membership changes will eventually remove voting privileges from many older, white Academy members; however, Thompson feels the process of purging the older white people could be expedited.
“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?” she said.
Thompson then noted the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) is taking active measures to ensure its membership is more reflective of diversity.
The actress, who won Oscars for her roles in films Howards End (1992) and Sense and Sensibility (1996), previously described the British public as “racist” for its response to Europe’s migrant crisis.
“We have to open our door to more refugees. The idea of 3,000 people in Calais who have been through unspeakable things makes me feel very ashamed,” Thompson said last September. “We’re not even missing our quotas. That’s really shaming. So I think it’s got a lot to do with racism.”
Thompson added: “If these people were white, European, that were coming from some dictatorship in Bosnia. If they were coming I think we would feel quite differently about it … We’ve got plenty of room for them.”