Commenting on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, Lee Daniels advised actors of color to go out and do the work

By Nick Romano
December 30, 2016 at 12:07 PM EST
Leon Bennett/Getty Images
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Empire and Star creator Lee Daniels has some advice for actors of color in light of last year’s #OscarsSoWhite controversy: “Go out and do the work.”

The filmmaker commented on the backlash over the lack of diversity among Oscar nominees during an interview with The New York Times. “Oscars so white! So what? Do your work. Let your legacy speak and stop complaining, man,” he said. “Are we really in this for the awards?”

He added, “If I had thought that way — that the world was against me — I wouldn’t be here now. These whiny people that think we’re owed something are incomprehensible and reprehensible to me. I don’t expect acknowledgment or acceptance from white America. I’m going to be me.”

Daniels previously directed Lee Daniels’ The Butler, which was snubbed by the Golden Globes and Oscars. But his earlier film, Precious, won two Academy Awards out of six total nominations.

Daniels also discussed social issues earlier this month on the daytime talk show The Real. “I wouldn’t be where I was if I embraced racism,” he said. “If I embraced it, then it became real. And if it became real, I would be an angry black man.” Watch below.

Other celebrities and Hollywood influencers, like Spike Lee and George Clooney, responded to #OscarsSoWhite in the past to the point where the Academy implemented new regulations to help diversify both the voting body and nominees.

The full list of nominations for the 2017 awards ceremony will be announced on Jan. 24.

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