Written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, the film tells the story of Django (Foxx), a freed slave who treks across the deep south in search of his wife, Broomhilda (Washington). Samuel L. Jackson, Christoph Waltz, and Leonardo DiCaprio also star in the movie.
Thus far, the film has received strong praise from critics, and recently was nominated for five Golden Globe Awards. However Foxx and Washington, the film’s leads, did not receive nominations, while their co-stars DiCaprio and Waltz did.
During an interview with theGrio’s Chris Witherspoon, Foxx and Washington talked about what it was like playing slaves in Django Unchained, and opened up about the lack of award recognition for black actors in Hollywood.
Washington was asked if she felt like Hollywood overlooked her talents based on the fact that she didn’t receive and Emmy nomination for her role on ABC’s Scandal, and was also snubbed for a Golden Globe nomination for Django Unchained.
“I feel really grateful to have a job and to be able to do what I love for a living and to work with people who I respect and admire. I do this because I love to do it, not because I have a desire to have attention,” said Washington.
Foxx, however, had a different opinion. “I think she should be nominated. Because sometimes you look at people that do get nominated and you go [makes confused face]… but I tell people, Kerry Washington has yet begun to fight.”
The Scandal star also weighed in on whether or not she would be opposed to receiving an Oscar nomination for playing a slave in Django Unchained.
“I’ve never had shame in playing somebody who is a slave or a prostitute, or anybody who may be looked down upon in society,” Washington said. “Because I think we all deserve to have our stories told no matter who we are. And if I’m proud of playing a woman who is handling a crises, I’m gonna be proud of playing a woman who is a maid.”
Foxx took the topic a step further, and said he wishes Hollywood recognized black actors for their more honorable and distinguished roles.
“A lot of times we’re not nominated when we do honorable work. Because with the slave she [Washington] plays there is dignity in everything she played,” Foxx said. “It wasn’t subservient; she wasn’t giving up to anything. So a lot of times they do overlook that, they may not want to reward that.”
Follow Chris Witherspoon on Twitter at @WitherspoonC