The legend has spoken — and he makes a great point, too!
In response to the ongoing #OscarsSoWhite controversy over the past few weeks, Sir Ian McKellen spoke on Monday to reporters with a message of warning: disenfranchisement isn’t only happening along racial lines.
The Lord Of The Rings star expressed sympathy for black actors angry about how the Oscars have snubbed them, both recently and historically.
But the acting legend also cautioned that it wasn’t just black actors receiving the short end of the Academy Awards’ focus, having himself been nominated twice:
“My [Oscar] speech has been in two jackets ├óΓé¼┬ª ├óΓé¼╦£I’m proud to be the first openly gay man to win the Oscar.’ I’ve had to put it back in my pocket twice.”
And while McKellen expressed sympathy that black actors have repeatedly dealt with “being ill-treated and underestimated,” he also pondered if that mistreatment extended elsewhere:
“No openly gay man has ever won the Oscar; I wonder if that is prejudice or chance.”
Of course, straight men have won Oscars for their portrayals of gay men on screen — Tom Hanks and Sean Penn are but a few — but no openly gay man has ever been crowned with the ultimate acting achievement.
In the end, McKellen acknowledged that the Oscars may actually mean very little, depending upon the metric in which you judge the award:
“If you are trying to have a career, as a black or Hispanic actor in a state ├óΓé¼ΓÇ£ California ├óΓé¼ΓÇ£ where white people are now the minority, and you are being judged by an Academy where the vast majority are white, male, middle-aged and old ├óΓé¼┬ª well, perhaps that is the wrong yardstick.”
[Image via Daniel Deme/WENN.]