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Ellen Page Joins Diversity Debate: ‘How Could You Not Feel Angry?’

Nicholas Hunt, Getty Images
Nicholas Hunt, Getty Images

The 2016 Oscar nominations have sparked a much-needed conversation about Hollywood’s pervasive diversity problem. Zero non-white actors received nominations for their work, causing members of Hollywood’s elite like Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee to skip this year’s awards show in protest.

Actress Ellen Page agrees there’s a serious lack of diversity within Hollywood, and she says the issue “means a lot to me as an audience member and as a human being,” according to a report from PEOPLE.

While promoting her new film Tallulah at the Sundance Film Festival, Page commented on the Academy’s new voters guidelines (again, implemented only after criticism erupted on social media following the 2016 nominations announcement) are “crucial” in moving forward.

Page expressed hope for the future, saying, “It means a lot to me as someone who does this job. I think the issue is much more systemic and I hope that’s what changed, hearing more diverse stories, but I feel like finally there’s some steps going in the right direction.”

She continued, noting that diversity amongst actors isn’t enough and that a change needs to happen in every aspect of the film industry: “There needs to be more diversity behind the camera, and more people getting hired in every aspect of the business, and more support for those stories and more opportunity. You look at something like Orange Is the New Black, and how many actresses we were introduced to who we may not otherwise have seen because they had no opportunity.”

“That makes me feel like, how could you not feel angry at that, you know? And I hope that is what is going to continue to happen, and just as an audience member I want to go see more stories from different perspectives,” she said. “We do this job, sure to entertain, but also to reflect aspects of what it means to be a human.”

Fellow actor Ian McKellen also spoke out about the lack of diversity, saying the Academy has also consistently ignored gay actors over the years.

“It’s not only black people who’ve been disregarded by the film industry,” he said to Sky News. “It used to be women. It’s certainly gay people to this day…These are all legitimate complaints.”

From ScreenCrush: Every Black Actor Who Has Won an Academy Award

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