Actor David Oyelowo — who was famously overlooked for playing Martin Luther King Jr. in Selmawhen the Oscar nominations were announced last year — broke off his prepared remarks to blast the Academy at a gala honoring Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs Monday night.
“The Academy has a problem,” said the British actor, speaking at the King Legacy Awards, held at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Los Angeles, where he was presenting Boone Isaacs with an award named after civil rights icon Rosa Parks. “It’s a problem that needs to be solved.”
He revealed that Boone Isaacs had met with him privately to discuss his omission from the nominations. “A year ago, I did a film called Selma, and after the Academy Awards, Cheryl invited me to her office to talk about what went wrong then,” he said. “We had a deep and meaningful [conversation]. For 20 opportunities to celebrate actors of color, actresses of color, to be missed last year is one thing; for that to happen again this year is unforgivable.”
While urging the audience to pray for Boone Isaacs, he continued: “The reason why the Oscars are so important is because it is the zenith, it is the epitome, it is the height of celebration of artistic endeavor within the filmmaking community. We grow up aspiring, dreaming, longing to be accepted into that august establishment because it is the height of excellence. I would like to walk away and say it doesn’t matter, but it does, because that acknowledgement changes the trajectory of your life, your career, and the culture of the world we live in.”…