Cynthia Erivo has thanked Joaquin Phoenix for making a “brave” speech about systemic racism in Hollywood at the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs).While accepting the Best Actor award at the ceremony in London last week, the Joker star took the oppor…
Cynthia Erivo has thanked Joaquin Phoenix for making a “brave” speech about systemic racism in Hollywood at the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs).
While accepting the Best Actor award at the ceremony in London last week, the Joker star took the opportunity to call out the lack of diversity in this year’s awards season nominees, and urged his fellow actors to tackle the problem head-on.
In light of Phoenix’s speech, Erivo, who is the only black nominee in the acting categories at the upcoming Oscars, has praised the 45-year-old for speaking out about the issue and expressed her hope that it will force change within the industry.
“It meant that someone like him was listening and seeing what is going on and has gotten to the point where he can pretend it’s not happening anymore,” the British actress told Variety.
Erivo, who is nominated at the Academy Awards on Sunday for her portrayal of Harriet Tubman in the biopic Harriet, added that it “meant a lot” to her that Phoenix made the important speech while in her home city.
“I hope we didn’t fall on deaf ears. We never know,” she shared. “But I think it was time for someone like him to say it, because people like me, the black girls of the world, the black men of the world, are saying it consistently, but we’re not always being heard.
“So maybe it might have taken that to change something.”
Erivo, 33, previously showed her support for Phoenix’s blistering speech at the BAFTAs by posting a clip of it to Instagram on Monday.
“Joaquin Phoenix giving a word on institutional racism. Much respect,” she wrote in the caption.
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Cynthia Erivo finds it “saddening” that she’s the only actor of colour nominated for the 2020 Academy Awards.The 33-year-old is up for both Best Actress and Best Original Song for Harriet, in which she portrays famed abolitionist and political activist…
Cynthia Erivo finds it “saddening” that she’s the only actor of colour nominated for the 2020 Academy Awards.
The 33-year-old is up for both Best Actress and Best Original Song for Harriet, in which she portrays famed abolitionist and political activist Harriet Tubman, and is the only person of colour out of the 20 acting nominees.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the star confessed the nods are “a moment for celebration”, but also reflected on the wider implications of the lack of diversity in the shortlist.
“It can’t just be me alone. 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,” she said. “I don’t want us to do that.
“To be in a room and not being able to see other actors (of colour) 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 recently vowed to fight for change in “the way they (entertainment industry) cast things, change the way they line up producers and directors and writers”, adding that diverse voices “reflect the world that we live in,” while addressing on the issue during a Television Critics Association panel for her new HBO show, The Outsider.
The Academy Awards take place on 9 February.
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Cynthia Erivo, Elton John, and Idina Menzel will perform at the 2020 Academy Awards. Oscars show producers Lynette Howell Taylor and Stephanie Allain announced on Thursday that all of the tracks nominated for Best Original Song will be performed durin…
Cynthia Erivo, Elton John, and Idina Menzel will perform at the 2020 Academy Awards.
Oscars show producers Lynette Howell Taylor and Stephanie Allain announced on Thursday that all of the tracks nominated for Best Original Song will be performed during the ceremony on 9 February at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
They revealed that Erivo, who is also nominated for Best Actress for her performance in Harriet, will perform Stand Up, a song she co-wrote with Joshuah Brian Campbell for the Harriet Tubman biopic. Her fellow performers include John, who will sing (I’m Gonna) Love Me Again, which recently won the Golden Globe, from his biopic Rocketman, and Menzel, who will take to the stage with Norwegian singer AURORA to perform Into the Unknown, which her character Elsa sang in animated sequel Frozen II. The song was written by songwriters Kristen Anderson-Lopez and Robert Lopez, who have previously won the Best Original Song Oscar for Let It Go from the original Frozen and Remember Me from Pixar animation Coco.
In addition, This Is Us actress Chrissy Metz will sing I’m Standing With You, which was written by Diane Warren, from her movie Breakthrough, and composer Randy Newman will perform I Can’t Let You Throw Yourself Away from Pixar animation Toy Story 4. Newman is also nominated in the Best Original Score category for his work on Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story.
Metz took to Instagram to express her excitement about the news and wrote, “When I tell you I don’t know what to say, I mean it! Honoured and elated to sing @warren_diane’s beautiful and timely song at the 92nd Oscars! See you all Sunday, February 9th!”
The ceremony will also feature a special appearance by Questlove and a guest-conducted segment by Eímear Noone, who will become the first woman to conduct during an Oscars telecast.
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Director Steve McQueen has slammed BAFTA chiefs after black actors and filmmakers were snubbed in the nominations for this year’s awards.British Academy of Film and Television Arts bosses were left embarrassed last week after their members failed to no…
Director Steve McQueen has slammed BAFTA chiefs after black actors and filmmakers were snubbed in the nominations for this year’s awards.
British Academy of Film and Television Arts bosses were left embarrassed last week after their members failed to nominate any black or ethnic minority stars for awards at next month’s ceremony.
Now, McQueen has criticised the lack of diversity at the event, rejecting organisers’ claims that the lack of diversity is down to wider issues with representation in the film industry.
“After a while, you get a bit fed up with it. Because if the BAFTAs are not supporting British talent, if you’re not supporting the people who are making headway in the industry, then I don’t understand what you are there for. Unless the BAFTAs wants to be like the Grammys, which is of no interest to anyone, and has no credibility at all, then they should continue on this path,” he fired in an interview with The Guardian, referencing the criticism of the annual U.S. music awards for snubbing black talent. “If not then they have to change. Fact.”
McQueen, who has an Oscar and two BAFTAs, went on to cite a number of British stars and filmmakers who he thinks should have received recognition, including Cynthia Erivo for Harriet – who has also condemned BAFTA for the lack of diversity – and Daniel Kaluuya for his performance in Queen & Slim. He also shared his disappointment at Lupita Nyong’o not being nominated for Jordan Peele’s Us.
“But not even just British talent, it’s talent in general. It’s crazy,” the 50-year-old added.
The 12 Years a Slave filmmaker went on to insist that if the BAFTAs failed on diversity, they would experience a talent drain as stars and creatives move to Hollywood to find success.
“If (filmmakers) are not recognised visually in our culture, well what’s the b**ody point? It becomes irrelevant, redundant and of no interest or importance. End of,” he concluded.
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Cynthia Erivo was left “disappointed” after learning that all the acting nominees for this year’s British Academy Film Awards were white.The 33-year-old British star had been tipped to land a BAFTA nomination for her role in biopic Harriet, about forme…
Cynthia Erivo was left “disappointed” after learning that all the acting nominees for this year’s British Academy Film Awards were white.
The 33-year-old British star had been tipped to land a BAFTA nomination for her role in biopic Harriet, about former slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman, but missed out on a nod for Best Actress, with the nominees including Scarlett Johansson, Renee Zellweger, Jessie Buckley, Saoirse Ronan, and Charlize Theron.
In fact, there were no actors of colour in any of the acting categories – something Cynthia believes isn’t representative of the state of the movie industry today.
“It’s disappointing to see that we’ve got to this point in time and we’ve had such wonderful advancement in inclusion and diversity, and the films this year were beautiful, such wonderful stories told, and to not have that represented in an awards show like the BAFTAs is just disappointing really,” she told Variety when asked about the lack of diversity among this year’s nominees.
Following the widespread backlash, BAFTA officials issued a statement in which they admitted they were also disappointed, and subsequently announced they were launching a “careful and detailed review” of the voting process.
Responding to that news, Cynthia added, “Let’s see how (the review) does, whether it affects next year or the year after who knows, but I definitely think it’s time for change, we can’t overlook it any more.”
It was also reported that the Widows actress had turned down the chance to perform at the awards ceremony in London on 2 February – which the star confirmed in her interview with Variety.
“The reason I didn’t perform is because I don’t think it’s proper representation, as a woman of colour, of people of colour in this industry,” she said.
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Harriet director Kasi Lemmons believes “things have changed” since a studio executive suggested Julia Roberts play African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman in a biopic.Gregory Allen Howard, who co-wrote the Harriet screenplay with Lemmons, hit head…
Harriet director Kasi Lemmons believes “things have changed” since a studio executive suggested Julia Roberts play African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman in a biopic.
Gregory Allen Howard, who co-wrote the Harriet screenplay with Lemmons, hit headlines last month when he revealed that an unnamed studio head suggested the Pretty Woman actress portray the activist during a meeting in 1994.
Many social media users expressed outrage about the controversial suggestion, and during an interview with Variety, the director took an optimistic stance on the news, saying the response proves how much times have changed.
“It was a long time ago and things have changed. (The uproar) does go to show you how far we’ve come,” Lemmons said. “I think it has happened a lot. In fact, it’s happened a lot and not that long ago. We do have to be careful and check ourselves … (But) we’ve learned a lot since then. And in fact, in some ways, the way of approaching docu-drama is completely different than it was 25 years ago.”
Producer Debra Martin Chase said she’d heard the story long ago but had forgotten about it by the time it resurfaced.
“I wasn’t surprised. That’s how it used to be. People would say crazy stuff like that and get away with it. They would not be ashamed to say whatever they thought. That was the climate in this town – hostile,” she commented.
Roberts and Cynthia Erivo, who plays Tubman in the biopic, have yet to comment on the story, but actress Viola Davis recently weighed on the issue, calling it “ridiculous”.
In his original interview with Focus Features, Howard recalled, “I was told how one studio head said in a meeting, ‘This script is fantastic. Let’s get Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman.’ When someone pointed out that Roberts couldn’t be Harriet, the executive responded, ‘It was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference.'”
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Cynthia Erivo felt like former slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman was “around” while she played her in the biopic Harriet.In the drama, the Widows actress portrays the famed slave liberator, who passed away in 1913, as she escapes from slaver…
Cynthia Erivo felt like former slave-turned-abolitionist Harriet Tubman was “around” while she played her in the biopic Harriet.
In the drama, the Widows actress portrays the famed slave liberator, who passed away in 1913, as she escapes from slavery and travels 100 miles on her own to safety in Philadelphia. However, she cannot find peace knowing her family and friends are still enslaved so she journeys back and forth to free them all, plus hundreds of others.
Tubman regularly speaks to God to ask for guidance and Erivo, who describes himself as a person of faith, prayed before going on set, where she felt the activist’s presence.
“(I prayed) to make the space safe and open for her because I feel as if Harriet is complicit in this storytelling. I feel that she’s around. It’s comforting to be able to reach into your faith to tell the story of somebody who has faith,” she told Britain’s Guardian newspaper.
The production was physically demanding, with the British actress having to sprint through forests, jump off bridges and wade through rivers, but she kept it all in perspective by thinking of what Tubman went through in real-life.
“While we were on set, if anything got difficult there was a saying: ‘HTH’, which was ‘Harriet Tubman hard’. So, if it wasn’t Harriet Tubman hard, it was fine, we were going to get through it. And nothing was Harriet Tubman hard, so we always got through it,” the 32-year-old stated.
Harriet marks the third film role for Erivo, who is earning Oscars buzz for her performance.
The biopic, which also stars Leslie Odom Jr., Janelle Monae, and Joe Alwyn, is in cinemas now.
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Harriet screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard has revealed a studio executive once suggested Julia Roberts play Harriet Tubman in the biopic.The film, starring British actress Cynthia Erivo as the African-American political activist and abolitionist Harrie…
Harriet screenwriter Gregory Allen Howard has revealed a studio executive once suggested Julia Roberts play Harriet Tubman in the biopic.
The film, starring British actress Cynthia Erivo as the African-American political activist and abolitionist Harriet Tubman, has been in the works for over a decade – with the premise first pitched in the early 1990s.
And as bosses debated which actresses should be in line for the titular role during a meeting in 1994, one unnamed “studio head” had a surprising suggestion.
“When I got in the business, I wanted to tell these historical stories by turning them into entertainment,” Howard said in a Q&A for Focus Features. “I didn’t want to give history lessons. I wanted to turn Harriet Tubman’s life, which I’d studied in college, into an action-adventure movie. The climate in Hollywood, however, was very different back then. I was told how one studio head said in a meeting, ‘This script is fantastic. Let’s get Julia Roberts to play Harriet Tubman.’ When someone pointed out that Roberts couldn’t be Harriet, the executive responded, ‘It was so long ago. No one is going to know the difference.'”
Erivo is already being tipped for awards season success for her role in the movie, which Howard said was only made following the release of films 12 Years a Slave and Black Panther.
“Two films really changed the climate in Hollywood to allow Harriet to be made,” he continued. “When 12 Years a Slave became a hit and did a couple hundred million dollars worldwide, I told my agent, ‘You can’t say this kind of story won’t make money now.’ Then Black Panther really blew the doors open.”
Roberts has yet to respond to Howard’s claim.
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Cynthia Erivo broke down in tears when she wrapped her new movie about slavery hero Harriet Tubman because she felt she was losing a friend.The British actress’s latest character really got under her skin in a good way and she felt like she had a real …
Cynthia Erivo broke down in tears when she wrapped her new movie about slavery hero Harriet Tubman because she felt she was losing a friend.
The British actress’s latest character really got under her skin in a good way and she felt like she had a real connection with Tubman.
“Playing her made me want to be fierce,” Erivo said during a recent SAG-AFTRA Conversations event. “I thought I was determined and I thought I was strong physically. I thought I was intelligent. But then you play her… It made me learn that my determination pales in comparison and I’ve decided to distil what it really means to be determined in my life.
“I remember that last day, it was pitch black as we shot it in the dark, in the mud, in the middle of nowhere. After the film wrapped I felt a little bit sad, really. It was like letting a friend go because she had been part of my life for a really long time. I had been learning her and trying to find her and speaking to her and praying for her and thanking her.”
However, The Bad Times at the El Royale star explained it wasn’t until she travelled back to London that all of the emotions really hit her.
“I went and did two concerts afterwards, so I didn’t really decompress until I went home to my mum. I went back to London and I was ill one day and all of a sudden I broke down in tears and was crying my eyes out,” the 32-year-old stated. “I just realised that I hadn’t come up for air yet. I guess the decompression was forced upon me. I won’t let that happen like that again.”
And Erivo always has at least one Tubman reminder with her at all times.
“I still wear my ring that has her face on it and I have a chain that has her on it as well,” she smiled.
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Cynthia Erivo has called on critics to support her new film about legendary African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman.The British actress portrays the anti-slavery activist in the new movie Harriet, but her casting upset some who believed the part s…
Cynthia Erivo has called on critics to support her new film about legendary African-American abolitionist Harriet Tubman.
The British actress portrays the anti-slavery activist in the new movie Harriet, but her casting upset some who believed the part should have gone to an African-American.
Erivo is sympathetic to their views, but now the film is about to be released, she is convinced supporting the project is the best way to provide future opportunities for more women of colour to put their spin on Tubman, who escaped slavery to help free others via the network of secret routes and safe houses known as the Underground Railroad.
“I understand that people would feel strongly about this woman (Tubman) because she means a lot to a lot of people,” Erivo said during an appearance on The TODAY Show. “But I think the thing that is really important is this is the first time we’re getting to see her (story in Hollywood), and really and truly, I hope that people come out to support this, so we can make more.
“It’s not a story that should be told in one film, it’s definitely a story that lasts and lasts. She was 91 years old by the time that she died, and she did a lot of work in her time.
“Hopefully, this just opens doors for many other actresses.”
Directed by Kasi Lemmons, Harriet also co-stars Joe Alwyn, Leslie Odom Jr., and Jennifer Nettles. The movie opens in U.S. cinemas on 1 November.
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