Denzel Washington says he has experienced firsthand how the Oscars can be unfair to actors and filmmakers of color, but he won’t let that discourage him.
In an excerpt from this week’s episode of 60 Minutes, the two-time Academy Award winner is asked what he thinks about ongoing criticism over the lack of diversity at the Oscars.
“I don’t have to think about it, I’ve lived it,” Washington replies. “I’ve been the guy at the Oscars without my name being called. I’ve been the guy at the Oscars when my name is called. I’ve been the guy at the Oscars when everybody thought they were going to call my name and they didn’t. So I’ve lived it.”
For the past two years, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has nominated only white performers in its four acting categories, igniting the controversy known as #OscarsSoWhite. Responding to the uproar earlier this year, the academy overhauled its membership guidelines and announced ambitious goals to diversify its ranks.
As the director, producer, and star of the new drama Fences (based on the August Wilson play), Washington is expected to be an Oscar contender once again this year. While acknowledging that he thinks the playing field is uneven, Washington says, “Yeah, and so what? You going to give up? If you’re looking for an excuse, you’ll find one. … You can find it wherever you like. Can’t live like that. Just do the best you can do.”
60 Minutes airs Sunday at 7:30 p.m. ET and 7 p.m. PT. Watch a clip from Washington’s interview above.