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'Unfair' to attack Academy over lack of diversity in Oscars, says Dame Helen

Published 03/02/2016

Dame Helen Mirren came to the defence of the Oscars
Dame Helen Mirren came to the defence of the Oscars

Dame Helen Mirren says it is "unfair" of people to attack the Academy over the Oscars diversity row.

The 70-year-old said Idris Elba failing to receive a nomination for his role in Beasts Of No Nation had "forced the conversation" but that it was "fantastic" the way things "shook out" this year.

During an interview on Channel 4 news she said: "I think it's unfair to attack the Academy. It just so happened this year it went that way.

"He wasn't (nominated) because not enough people saw, or wanted to see a film about child soldiers in Somalia or the Congo or somewhere like that.

"They just couldn't face watching that movie and so not enough people saw that movie. It wasn't in the cinema for long enough.

"The thing is all of these things count, people don't really realise how much these things matter.

"And because of all of that he wasn't nominated which he absolutely should have been. And if he'd been nominated we wouldn't be having this discussion, but we should be having this discussion.

"The conversation is incredibly important.

"It forced the conversation."

Speaking to presenter Jon Snow, Mirren also commented on the US presidential race, saying a Republican win would be "the end of America as a great country".

She said: "There is an extraordinary extreme right-wing voice in America.

"And if that does get into power ... I can't imagine how the world would look.

"I think it's a very frightening idea myself.

"And this whole idea of making America great, it seems to me that it would actually sort of be the end of America as a great country."

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