BIG ISSUE NATIONAL VENDOR WEEK
LEARN MORE
Film

Sir Ian McKellen: 'The Oscars do not represent gay people'

Sir Ian McKellen says that the Oscars Academy is a "middle aged, white, male organisation" - which doesn't exist to "solve problems"  

This year the build up to the Oscars has not been about which movie is generating the biggest buzz, but who will boycott the ceremony. Already industry heavyweights like Will Smith and Spike Lee have announced they will not attend to protest the fact that for the second year, there are no black actors nominated in any of the acting categories.

But here’s a question: how many openly gay actors have won an Oscar for acting? The answer is none (although Joel Grey who won for Cabaret in 1973 came out last year) and the amount of openly gay actors who have received a nomination could be counted on one hand.

It seems like if the Academy has a problem with race, it is also prejudiced towards homosexuality.

In a land where there are no knighthoods, winning an Oscar is a confirmation that you are what you are

“The voting members of the Academy are predominantly white, predominantly male, and predominantly middle aged and old,” says Sir Ian McKellen. “They’re not representative. If you feel excluded because you’re black or Hispanic or a woman or gay, you’re going to look at that institution and say it doesn’t represent me. No, it doesn’t, that’s a fact. But do you expect it to represent you? It’s just a middle aged, white, male organisation.

“The easy way would be to say, don’t worry about it, forget about Oscars, don’t go, don’t put yourself up for it. But in a land where there are no knighthoods, winning an Oscar is a confirmation that you are what you are.”
McKellen has been nominated for two Oscars but neither time had the opportunity to deliver his prepared speech, which read, “I am proud to be the first openly gay actor ever to receive an Oscar”. He is not optimistic that things will change anytime soon.

“People feel the industry as a whole is unfair to their sort – well who do you blame?” he says. “You can blame the Oscars because it’s an annual event and it represents something – or it should do. The fact that black people are underrepresented in studio movies is undoubtedly the case, no doubt about it. I totally understand the complaints but the other side of me says don’t expect the Oscars to solve problems, that’s not what the Academy does.”

Big Issue vendors are back!

It’s not just the shops that are opening again. From Monday 12th April onwards,  Big Issue vendors are back in business, with a big smile and a stack of magazines. Buy from your local vendor today!

Find out more

National Vendor Week 2024

A celebration of people who are working their way out of poverty.
Vendor martin Hawes

Recommended for you

View all
Behind Oscar-tipped doc Four Daughters: A story of radicalisation, family and loss
Sisters Tayssir and Eya, two of the subjects of the new film Four Daughters
Film

Behind Oscar-tipped doc Four Daughters: A story of radicalisation, family and loss

Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley: 'Why the hell are we still judging someone on how they look?'
Film

Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley: 'Why the hell are we still judging someone on how they look?'

Dune: Part Two review – deluxe space opera with a discreet safety net
TIMOTHÉE CHALAMET as Paul Atreides and ZENDAYA as Chani in Warner Bros. Pictures and Legendary Pictures’ action adventure “DUNE: PART TWO,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Film

Dune: Part Two review – deluxe space opera with a discreet safety net

Photojournalist Lanre Fehintola didn't just record life on the edge – he became the story
Film

Photojournalist Lanre Fehintola didn't just record life on the edge – he became the story

Most Popular

Read All
Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits
Renters: A mortgage lender's window advertising buy-to-let products
1.

Renters pay their landlords' buy-to-let mortgages, so they should get a share of the profits

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal
Pound coins on a piece of paper with disability living allowancve
2.

Exclusive: Disabled people are 'set up to fail' by the DWP in target-driven disability benefits system, whistleblowers reveal

Here's when UK households to start receiving last cost of living payments
next dwp cost of living payment 2023
3.

Here's when UK households to start receiving last cost of living payments

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know
4.

Strike dates 2023: From train drivers to NHS doctors, here are the dates to know