‘Till’ star Danielle Deadwyler accuses Hollywood of ‘systemic racism’ after Oscars snub
Many moviegoers expected to hear “Till” star Danielle Deadwyler’s name called last month when the Oscar were announced. Much to the chagrin of fans impressed by her portrayal of civil rights activist Mamie Till-Mobley — whose teenage son Emmett Till was beaten to death in Mississippi in 1955 — that didn’t happen.
Deadwyler said Hollywood is impacted by “systemic racism” in an interview aired Wednesday.
“Cinematic history is 100+ years old,” the 40-year-old star told the BBC. “I would dare say the system is deeply, deeply impacted by systemic racism that has shaped our country.”
Viola Davis, who won a Grammy Award on Sunday, was not nominated for her acclaimed performance in “The Woman King,” either. The combination of those omissions drew criticism for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which made efforts to diversify following the #OscarsSoWhite social media movement in 2015. Both women were nominated for BAFTA awards, the British equivalent to an Oscar.
“If we’re still dealing with systemic racism in this country that is leading us to the loss of a Tyre Nichols, that carries us from the loss of Emmett, there is a trickle-down effect of how racism impacts our lives,” Deadwyler told the BBC.
Five Memphis, Tenn., police officers were charged with killing Nichols, whose violent traffic stop last month was caught on video.
Deadwyler added that racism impacts not just the film industry, but education and every “part of quotidian American life.”
“Till” director Chinonye Chukwu said on Instagram in January that businesses like the film industry are “aggressively committed to “upholding whiteness and perpetuating an unabashed misogyny towards Black women.”
The 95th Oscars take place March 12 in Hollywood. The nominees for best actress in a leading tole are Michelle Yeoh, Ana de Armas, Michelle Williams, Cate Blanchett and Andrea Riseborough. Halle Berry became the only Black woman to receive that award in 2002. “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” star Angela Bassett is nominated for 2023′s best supporting actress.