Cynthia Erivo hopes the controversy over her lone presence as an actor of color among this year’s Oscars nominees will mark a “turning point” for the film industry.
The Harriet star is up for Best Actress and Best Original Song at Sunday’s (February 9, 2020) ceremony – but her two nominations were a rare diverse choice on a much-criticized Academy Awards shortlist.
Academy chiefs attempted to open up their membership following the 2016 #OscarsSoWhite controversy – when all the acting nominees were white – but Cynthia tells U.K. morning show BBC Breakfast industry chiefs need to take another look to ensure it stops happening.
“There are people who also deserve to be a part of this and we’ve got to figure out how that happens,” she says. “Hopefully this year will be a turning point for everyone because we’re talking about it out loud and now it can start to make some changes.
“We can’t keep doing this and doing nothing about it so maybe now we start doing something about it.”
Asked how she felt about being nominated for her title role in the biopic of abolitionist Harriet Tubman, Cynthia said the feeling was “bittersweet” due to the lack of other black nominees.
Cynthia’s rivals in the Best Actress category are Little Women’s Saoirse Ronan, Bombshell star Charlize Theron, Marriage Story actress Scarlett Johansson and Renee Zellweger for Judy.