Anthony Mackie on Selma's Oscar snub: 'People are just tired of being bombarded with race right now'
Anthony Mackie is back on the big screen, starring alongside Oscar winners Octavia Spencer and Kevin Costner in highly anticipated drama, Black or White.
The film tells the story of a white grandfather who is left to raise his bi-racial granddaughter after his daughter dies during childbirth.
In an interview with theGrio.com, Mackie discussed some of the themes within Black or White and gave his thoughts on the racially-charged stories that have recently dominated the news.
Mackie is no stranger to the Academy Awards. In 2009, he starred in the Oscar-winning film The Hurt Locker. He shared his thoughts on the controversy surrounding this year’s nominations.
The nominees in this year’s acting categories are all white, and many feel that Selma’s African-American female director, Ava DuVernay, was snubbed.
Mackie said that Selma is having trouble at the box-office and didn’t fare well with Oscar voters because people are turned off by the film’s subject matter.
“People are just tired of being bombarded with race right now,” Mackie said. “So everybody is shying away from certain topics and certain movies.”
Selma earned $11.5 million over the MLK holiday weekend, which brings its total earnings to $29 million since its limited release on Christmas. According to Box Office Mojo, the film had a $20 million production budget.
Mackie believes that the Oscars aren’t being discriminatory but that they are simply rewarding the best the industry has to offer this year.
“If you look at all the movies and actors that are nominated, they all gave damn good performances,” Mackie said. “Me specifically, if thats something I want, I have to step my game up. I have to do better movies and I have to act better.”
Mackie continued on by saying that African-American actors are disadvantaged when it comes to receiving more Oscar-worthy roles because “Hollywood believes that there’s no market overseas for black actors.”
“They say that about Denzel Washington, they say they have no foreign value,” the Captain America star said. “If we’re not financing and doing our own stories, we can’t expect to see ourselves come award season.”
Turning to the topic of recent nationwide protests against racial profiling, Mackie offered a unique perspective.
“Like my nephew wanted to grow dreadlocks. I’m like fine, I’ll sit you down and I’ll watch The First 48 with you and everybody you see on that show, that’s doing something wrong, they’re black dudes with dreadlocks. So, do you want to be seen as part of the problem or do you want to be an individual?”
“Let’s just say you have locks and you walking down the street. The police pull you over and say you fit the description of somebody. You start yelling and arguing with the cops. Next thing you know you pressed up against the wall going to jail for something you’re not even involved in just because you look like somebody and you don’t know how to handle yourself,” Mackie said.
You can see Mackie’s latest film Black or White when it hit theaters nationwide January 30.
Follow theGrio.com’s Entertainment Editor Chris Witherspoon on Twitter @WitherspoonC.