TORONTO – Director Spike Lee says he’s still waiting for Hollywood to open up to black filmmakers in a meaningful way. Days before the Academy Award nominations are to be announced, the outspoken director says not much has changed since the historical 2002 Oscar wins of Denzel Washington and Halle Berry.
Lee says the high-profile wins had observers declaring “a new dawn” in Hollywood’s racial landscape, but adds that nothing has changed since then.
“I remember a couple years ago, when three or four black people won — Halle won an Academy Award, Denzel won and Sidney Poitier won a career achievement award and people were saying, like, ‘Oh, this is a new dawn.
“Nothing happened, you know. People looking at superficial things trying to think there’s great movement that happened. And it hasn’t happened.”
Despite critical acclaim for his work, Lee has never been nominated for best directing Oscar — only in the screenwriting and documentary categories.
The Academy Award nominations come out Tuesday — the same day Lee is due to speak in the city. Leading contenders this year include “The Social Network,” “The King’s Speech” and “Black Swan.” There are no obvious African-American frontrunners.