Sir Kenneth Branagh believes the film industry "has to do something" about the lack of recognition for black or ethnic minority actors.
Academy Award organisers came under fire after failing to nominate any black and minority ethnic talent in the lead and supporting actor and actress categories.
Speaking at the London Critics' Circle Film Awards, Sir Kenneth, a five-time Oscar nominee, said: "It's surprising and I think we have to do something about it.
"I think it's always the case with awards that work that you want to have recognised is sometimes ignored and other things that surprise you.
"For instance Idris Elba gave a fantastic performance this year amongst many. B ut he'll be recognised and other people will be. Talent will out."
Kate Winslet said she found the topic difficult to discuss because of the danger her words were "taken out of context".
Asked about the lack of nominations for black actors at the Academy Awards, she said: "Whenever that happens it surprises me. I think there probably should have been.
"It's a difficult one though because how does one talk about that publicly without saying something wrong or something that's going to be irritating and be repeated in some way and taken out of context. But it is quite surprising."
Elba from Beasts Of No Nation, Will Smith, who stars in American football drama Concussion, and Michael B Jordan, star of Creed, are among the black actors who have not been nominated for next month's Oscars.
British actor David Harewood previously said Academy Award nominees should attend next month's ceremony "in blackface" to highlight the issue of diversity.
Meanwhile, African-American film-maker Reginald Hudlin, a producer of Quentin Tarantino's Django Unchained, called the omission "tragic".