OCTAVIA SPENCER insists OSCARS voters won’t opt to choose non-white winners because of last year’s (16) diversity row.
The 46-year-old actress is nominated in the Best Supporting Actress category for her role in Hidden Figures, one of a record six black actors to be nominated.
The increased number of nods for people of colour marks a remarkable turn around from last year (16), when all 20 acting nominees were of Caucasian descent, causing social media users to mock Academy members with the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.
However Octavia doesn’t believe voters have been or will be swayed by the controversy surrounding the 2016 ceremony.
She tells The Guardian newspaper, “I don’t see Oscar voters going: ‘Oh, here’s a black performance. I’m going to vote here for this black person. Oh, wait. Here’s Dev Patel (nominated for Best Supporting Actor). He’s Indian. I need to vote.’ That’s not how people think in there.”
Instead she points out that there have simply been a huge number of movies featuring exceptional performances from actors with diverse ethnic backgrounds.
“But the wonderful thing is, there are a lot of movies to choose from, whereas last year there were only a couple of black performances, and there were no Latina performances,” she explains. “There were no Asian performances. You know what I mean? That’s what I want to see.”
Octavia’s film, Hidden Figures, which tells the story of the female African American mathematicians who helped astronaut John Glenn become the first American to orbit the Earth, has been nominated for three Oscars, including the coveted Best Picture trophy.
The film is not the most garlanded featuring African American lead characters however, with Barry Jenkins’ coming-of-age drama Moonlight earning eight nominations, including Best Picture and Best Director nods.