Ian McKellen: Don’t Forget About Homophobia in Hollywood

McKellen has been nominated twice for an Oscar.

The lack of diversity at the Academy Awards is getting some much-needed attention. But along with #OscarsSoWhite, what about #OscarsSoStraight?

Twice nominated for an Academy Award, the actor Sir Ian McKellen is chiming in that homophobia is just as prevalent as racism in Hollywood.

Speaking at the London launch of the British Film Institute’s Shakespeare season (which includes his starring role in the 1995 film Richard III), McKellen expressed empathy for the outrage that racial minorities feel toward the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. “I sympathize with any underrepresented group … the Oscars is just part of a bigger problem.”

McKellen has been nominated twice for an Oscar: in 1998, for best actor in a leading role in Gods and Monsters, and in 2001 for best actor in a supporting role as Gandalf in the first Lord of the Rings features. “No openly gay man has ever won the Oscar; I wonder if that is prejudice or chance,” he said.

Many heterosexual actors have won for their performances as gay men—among them Tom Hanks, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Sean Penn. “How clever, how clever. What about giving me one for playing a straight man?” quipped the actor. “My speech has been in two jackets … ‘I’m proud to be the first openly gay man to win the Oscar.’ I’ve had to put it back in my pocket twice.”

(Via The Guardian)