For Harriet star Cynthia Erivo, the 2020 Oscars comes with a bittersweet feeling being the only person of color nominated in the acting categories. And even though excited by the nomination, she’s not happy that there’s a lack of representation in Hollywood and would be glad to see a change.
“It is a moment for celebration, but it also is a real eye-opener. It can’t just be me alone,” she said. “There’s just such good work going on and this may sound fatalistic, but I would hate for people’s work to have gone by and then for us to have looked back and go, “Oh, I wish we would’ve given roses,” when people aren’t there to actually receive them. I don’t want us to do that.”
She continued: “To be in a room and not being able to see other actors [of color] who are nominated, to not be able to share that with another black actress is saddening. I would love to share this moment with someone else.”
Erivo scooped two nominations in the Best Actress and Best Original Song categories for the Sunday event. With a Tony, Grammy and Emmy award already to her name, the 33-year-old could become the youngest actor to win all four awards (EGOT) if she comes up tops.
This isn’t the first time the British-Nigerian actress has shared her sentiments and reacted to Hollywood’s lack of representation in awards shows.
Last month, she refused an offer to perform at the 2020 British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) citing the aforementioned grievances.
“I do think they need changes. I think that the voting pool, those who vote might need to widen a little bit. I think we need to see a more and more diverse voting pool. I think maybe that might help. I think that hopefully this year will serve as an example as to why things need to change a little bit, because it just wasn’t representative of what we saw this year in film at all. So, let’s hope that the changes are made, yeah,” she told the Associated Press.
On whether it was hard for her to turn the invitation to perform, she said: “Not really. No, not at all. I think that there is a way to represent people of color and to sing on something that was only representative of the talent who were white in the films, it just, it just didn’t feel right.
“So, I have I have a responsibility to represent women of color and people of color in film and TV and to perform to celebrate something like that. That way didn’t feel right. Yeah.”
The actress also took to her Instagram page to share Joaquin Phoenix’s acceptance speech calling out the lack of representation when he took home the Leading Actor award at the BAFTAs.
“Joaquin Phoenix giving you a word on institutional racism. Much respect,” she captioned.