The Coen Brothers On #OscarsSoWhite: “The Oscars Are Not That Important”

February 5, 2016 / Posted by:

Because every Hollywood type and their dog are being asked their thoughts on this year’s Oscar boycott (I’m pretty sure there’s a reporter holding a mic up to the dog from The Danish Girl as I type this), Joel and Ethan Coen were recently asked how they felt about the #OscarsSoWhite situation. The Coen Brothers have won four Oscars and have been nominated for a billion more (the film they wrote Bridge of Spies is nominated for six this year), so you’d think they would have lots of thoughts on the subject. As it turns out, the Coen Brothers don’t exactly give a Fargo-dipped fuck about any of this.

The Daily Beast says that when Joel and Ethan were asked about Hollywood’s current favorite debate while promoting Hail, Caesar!, they both let out “bemused groans.” According to Joel, getting mad at the Oscars over the lack of diversity in this year’s nominations is pretty much the same as pouting because you didn’t win the Sassiest Smile Award during your last trip to the dentist. It doesn’t matter!

“[That’s] assigning way too much importance to the awards. By making such a big deal, you’re assuming that these things really matter…Diversity’s important. The Oscars are not that important.”

Joel was then reminded that the cast of Hail, Caesar! looks like a Sherwin-Williams Shades of White paint sample book, and when asked why there weren’t more people of color in it, he replied with this nugget:

“Why would there be? I don’t understand the question. No – I understand that you’re asking the question, I don’t understand where the question comes from. Not why people want more diversity – why they would single out a particular movie and say, ‘Why aren’t there black or Chinese or Martians in this movie? What’s going on?’ That’s the question I don’t understand. The person who asks that question has to come in the room and explain it to me.”

At which point, Joel’s brother Ethan yanked the steering wheel and tried to pull the interview out of the ditch by saying: “It’s important to tell the story you’re telling in the right way, which might involve black people or people of whatever heritage or ethnicity – or it might not.” That’s all well and good, Ethan, but answer me this: is “Martian” is a heritage or ethnicity?

It really wouldn’t kill the Coen Brothers to get a little more diverse with their casting. For example, Hail, Caesar! is the Coen’s fourth time hiring George Clooney. Come on, you two – branch out a little. There are other handsome human smirks out there.

Pic: Splash

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