Cynthia Erivo On Being The Only Black Actor Nominated For 2020 Oscars: 'Saddening'

·3 min read
Cynthia Erivo On Being The Only Black Actor Nominated For 2020 Oscars: 'Saddening'

Cynthia Erivo recently spoke openly on how she feels about being the only Black actor ― and, indeed, the only actor of color ― to receive a nomination in the four acting categories for the 2020 Oscars.

The “Harriet” star called her nomination both a celebration and a “real eye-opener” during an interview with author Roxane Gay for The Hollywood Reporter that was published Friday.

“It can’t just be me alone,” she said. “There’s just such good work going on, and this may sound fatalistic, but I would hate for people’s work to have gone by and then for us to have looked back and go, ‘Oh, I wish we would’ve given roses,’ when people aren’t there to actually receive them. I don’t want us to do that.”

She added, “To be in a room and not being able to see other actors [of color] who are nominated, to not be able to share that with another Black actress is saddening. I would love to share this moment with someone else.”

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Erivo, who portrayed heroic abolitionist Harriet Tubman in “Harriet,” racked up nods in the lead actress and original song categories for the 2019 film directed by Kasi Lemmons.

The actor spoke out against the lack of representation at award shows last month, when she publicly declined an invitation to perform at the 2020 British Academy Film Awards.

Erivo said at the time that singing at the event “didn’t feel right,” considering only white actors had been nominated in the acting categories.

On Monday, Erivo shared on Instagram a video clip of Joaquin Phoenix, who used his leading actor acceptance speech at the British Academy of Film and Television Arts gala to address the lack of diversity among the nominees.

“Joaquin Phoenix giving you a word on institutional racism. Much respect,” Erivo captioned the post.

The “Joker” actor said Sunday on the BAFTAs stage that the all-white nominee list sent a “very clear message to people of color that you’re not welcome here.”

Elsewhere in her interview with Gay, Erivo explained that she was willing to take political stands ― even if that meant considering her vulnerability after the fact.

“I have a thing about injustice and fairness,” she said. “When I feel like that is being endangered, it makes the hairs prick up on my neck. I can’t help but to speak out.”

Erivo, 33, has earned a Tony, Grammy and Emmy. She could become the youngest person ever to achieve EGOT status if she wins an Oscar on Sunday.

The actor is set to portray the late Aretha Franklin in the third season of National Geographic’s “Genius.”

Read Erivo’s full interview at THR here.

Related...

Cynthia Erivo Says She Declined To Perform At BAFTAs Due To All-White Acting Categories

Joaquin Phoenix Slams All-White Lineup In Moving BAFTA Acceptance Speech

You Wouldn’t Know It From The Oscars, But 2019 Was A Big Year For Diversity In Film

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