Jamie Foxx Has Two Points To Make About Oscars Diversity

Jamie Foxx as Walter McMillian in Just Mercy
(Image credit: (Warner Bros))

The Film Academy has been under a ton of scrutiny concerning the movies they nominate for their highly-coveted awards, and the frequent absence of people of color. When the 2020 Oscar nominations were announced earlier this month, once again the performance categories are predominantly white. Some fans believe actors including Eddie Murphy, Awkwafina, Jennifer Lopez and Jamie Foxx were snubbed from recognition.

Jamie Foxx just pulled off an incredible performance as a wrongly-condemned death row prisoner with Michael B. Jordan and Brie Larson in Just Mercy. The based-on-a-true-story drama seemed to be tailormade for the Oscar’s liking, but it has been completely shut out from the upcoming ceremony. When the actor was asked about the issue of Oscars diversity, here’s what he said:

It's two things, and we have to be very careful in the way we address this. We always want to keep it on the forefront to keep the… Academy's eyes open. We also want to be respectful to those that have been nominated so we don't cloud their moment. It has nothing to do with them, and we want them to enjoy what they've been bestowed because they deserve it. The other thing is, we do this for our art, we don’t do it for nominations, if it happens it's amazing.

Jamie Foxx certainly has a level head about this whole thing. He talks about a careful line that must be walked when discussing Oscars diversity. He doesn’t want to take away the honor from those who have been given nominations because they deserve to be recognized. Foxx also said that his projects don’t revolve around the goal to be awarded either.

The Just Mercy actor has certainly broken through to the Academy before. In 2005, Jamie Foxx actually was nominated in both acting categories – just as Scarlett Johansson was this year for Marriage Story and Jojo Rabbit. He lost the Best Supporting Actor nomination for Collateral but scored his first and only win for playing Ray Charles in Ray.

Jamie Foxx discussed this with Extra’s Renee Bargh at the recent SAG Awards where he was nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category. The SAG ended up going to Brad Pitt for his role as Cliff Booth in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. During his acceptance speech, Pitt joked about his role and Quentin Tarantino’s famous feet shots.

Along with the issue of people of color being less likely to be nominated, it’s also become apparent that actors who dabble in comedy have the potential to be shut out of recognition. After fans were shocked to find Adam Sandler’s Uncut Gems performance not among the Oscar nominees, some Academy voters attributed it to his career full of “dumb” Netflix comedies.

Oscars aside, Just Mercy was a big hit with audiences. It was given a rare A+ Cinemascore, 99% audience score and 84% Tomatometer. You can still check it out in theaters now.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.