Oscar voter denies racism accusations: 'In fact I nominated one person of color for an award'

An Oscar statue
(Image credit: Facebook.com/The Academy)

The 88th annual Academy Award ceremony is more than a month away, but Oscar chatter has been dominated by criticism of the extreme lack of diversity in this year's crop of nominees. Selma's David Oyelowo and Twelve Years a Slave's Lupita Nyong'o have expressed disappointment. Director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith have announced they won't be attending the ceremony. Even Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs has acknowledged that it's time for the Academy to "[take] dramatic steps to alter the makeup of [its] membership."

But not every Academy member is so willing to take the blame. The Hollywood Reporter interviewed several Oscar voters, who expressed frustration at being painted as "racist" simply because they consistently fail to recognize any of the many qualified people of color who are eligible for recognition.

"I voted for a number of black performers, and I was sorry they weren't nominated. But to imply that this is because all of us are racists is extremely offensive. [...] It was just an incredibly competitive year," said actors branch member Penelope Ann Miller.

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Another voter, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, was even blunter: "I'm very offended by the idea that some people are calling us racists — race was the furthest thing from my mind when I cast my ballot, and in fact I nominated one person of color for an award."

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