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More Controversy Surrounds the Oscars

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Sir Ian McKellen has brought to light another diversity issue lacking in this year’s Academy Awards, after the huge discussion about the lack of racial diversity in the awards.

No openly gay man has ever won the Oscar; I wonder if that is prejudice or chance.”

Sir Ian McKellen has been nominated twice for an Oscar, one best actor in 1998 for Gods and Monsters, and one for best supporting actor as Gandalf in the The Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring. There was discussion that he could potentially receive a nomination this year for his role as Sherlock Holmes in Mr. Holmes, however this obviously was not the case.

“My speech has been in two jackets … ‘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.”

Of course, members of the LGBTQIA+ community have won the award, but none have been open about their sexuality like Sir Ian McKellen. Stars like Angelina Jolie, who only came out after winning an Oscar for Girl, Interrupted (1991) and Jodie Foster, who has won the award twice but only came out many years after.

Sir Ian McKellen’s frustration increases with the knowledge that actors like Sean Penn have won for playing a gay man. In response, he says, “How clever, how clever. What about giving me one for playing a straight man?”

Race and sexual orientation aren’t the only reason for actors missing out on awards, however. This year, no female writer or director was nominated.

The Academy Awards have announced their first lot of performers and presenters, and the line up includes stars like Kevin Hart, Whoopi Goldberg, The Weeknd and Pharell Williams. The lack of diversity amongst award winners but the diversity in presenters and performers is what Jada Pinkett-Smith addressed in a series of tweets when the nominees were first announced.

The Academy Awards are on February 28th.


Note: This article was amended the 1/2/16, as it was originally published without a disclaimer