Issa Rae: Movie academy ‘needs to do better’ on diversity

issa ray

Issa Rae says her comment “Congratulations to those men” was the result of being told to banter to kill time during announcement of the Oscar nominations

PASADENA, Calif. — Issa Rae’s quick comment after five men were announced as Oscar nominees for best director was spur of the moment, but for many captured the lack of diversity among this year’s nominees.

“We were told to banter for five seconds as the teleprompter loaded, so that was my banter,” Rae told a TV critics meeting Wednesday. “I didn’t lie. I said congratulations.”

“Congratulations to those men,” Rae said dryly after the director category was revealed Monday. Greta Gerwig, who oversaw the acclaimed “Little Women,” was among the women directors who were shut out.

“I just think it’s unfortunate. The academy needs to do better,” Rae said. “I’m kind of tired of having the same conversation. Every year it’s something. For me it’s just pointing out when I see it. I don’t want to get too worked up about it. It’s annoying.”

Cynthia Erivo of “Harriet” was the only person of color among the 20 acting nominees. Rae presented this year’s Oscar nominations along with fellow actor John Cho.

Rae is working on the upcoming fourth season of her HBO comedy “Insecure,” which she created, stars, writes and executive produces.

The Oscars will be presented Feb. 9 in Los Angeles and aired live on ABC.

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