Helen Mirren says it's 'unfair' to criticize the Oscars for nominating only white actors

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Before you go close icon
Helen Mirren Defends Academy Over Oscars Diversity Controversy

Helen Mirren is defending the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, saying it's "unfair" to criticize the organization over the Oscars' diversity controversy.

For the second year in a row, all 20 actors nominated are white, which prompted criticisms against both the Academy and Hollywood for a lack of recognition given to minorities.

"I think it's unfair to attack the Academy. It just so happened this year, it went that way," the Oscar winner said in an interview with the UK's Channel 4 News.

Though not nominated for an Oscar this year, Mirren was nominated for both a Golden Globe and a SAG Award for her portrayal of Hedda Hopper in "Trumbo." She mentioned Idris Elba, fellow Golden Globe nominee and SAG Award winner for Netflix's "Beasts of No Nation," as someone who could have been nominated for an Oscar.

See more photos of Helen Mirren:

8 PHOTOS
Helen Mirren
See Gallery
Helen Mirren says it's 'unfair' to criticize the Oscars for nominating only white actors
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 07: Helen Mirren, winner of the award for Best Lead Actress in a Play for 'The Audience,' poses in the press room during the 2015 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jemal Countess/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 07: Helen Mirren accepts the award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play for “The Audience” onstage during the 2015 Tony Awards at Radio City Music Hall on June 7, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Tony Awards Productions)
"House Full" sign for The Audience with Helen Mirren at Gielgud Theatre, London
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME. MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED) Dame Helen Mirren (C) bows at the curtain call during the press night performance of 'The Audience' at the Gielgud Theatre on March 5, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME. MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED) Dame Helen Mirren bows at the curtain call during the press night performance of 'The Audience' at the Gielgud Theatre on March 5, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, ENGLAND - MARCH 05: (EMBARGOED FOR PUBLICATION IN UK TABLOID NEWSPAPERS UNTIL 48 HOURS AFTER CREATE DATE AND TIME. MANDATORY CREDIT PHOTO BY DAVE M. BENETT/GETTY IMAGES REQUIRED) Dame Helen Mirren attends an after party following the press night performance of 'The Audience' at One Whitehall Place on March 5, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Dave M. Benett/Getty Images)
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 09: Dame Helen Mirren sighting leaving the Geilgud Theatre following her performance in The Audience on May 9, 2013 in London, England. (Photo by Alan Chapman/FilmMagic)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"Idris Elba absolutely would have been nominated for an Oscar," she said. "He wasn't because not enough people saw or wanted to see a film about child soldiers."

She added that she's not excusing the Academy for the lack of diversity; rather, the problem extends to Hollywood in general.

"I'm saying that the issue we need to be looking at is what happens before the film gets to the Oscars, what kinds of films are made and the way in which they're cast and the scripts," she said. "It's those things that are much more influential, ultimately, than who stands there with an Oscar."

Following the backlash, the Academy has announced plans to restructure its membership by doubling minority and female members by 2020.

See photos of this year's Academy Award nominees:

11 PHOTOS
Academy Award nominations 2016, Oscars
See Gallery
Helen Mirren says it's 'unfair' to criticize the Oscars for nominating only white actors

Best Actor

Bryan Cranston

(Photo by Steve Granitz/WireImage)

Best Actor

Matt Damon

(Photo by Mark Cuthbert/UK Press via Getty Images)

Best Actor

Leonardo DiCaprio

(Photo by Mark Davis/Getty Images for Screen Actors Guild Foundation)

Best Actor

Michael Fassbender

(Photo by Julian Parker/UK Press via Getty Images)

Best Actor

Eddie Redmayne

(Photo by Karwai Tang/WireImage)

Best Actress

Cate Blanchette

(Photo by Brendon Thorne/Getty Images)

Best Actress

Brie Larson

(Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Best Actress

Jennifer Lawrence

(Photo by James Devaney/Getty Images)

Best Actress

Charlotte Rampling

(Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/WireImage)

Best Actress

Saoirse Ronan

(Photo by Mike Marsland/WireImage)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

NOW WATCH: If there's one movie you should watch before the Oscars, this is it

See Also:

SEE ALSO: With just one month to go, here's who has the best shot at winning the Oscars


Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL and get the top celebrity, movies, music and TV news delivered to your inbox daily!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.

From Our Partners