British actor Benedict Cumberbatch calls for more diversity in the acting industry and says it is a “crying shame” David Oyelowo was absent at the Bafta awards, according to a Channel 4 news report.
During an interview at the Bafta awards, where he was nominated for the leading actor award for his performance in The Imitation Game, Cumberbatch called for “more diversity” among award nominees.
Cumberbatch paid particular tribute to Selma star David Oyelowo, who plays Martin Luther King in the film Selma. Oyelowo was a surprise omission among this year’s Bafta nominees.
Speaking to BBC News on the red carpet Cumberbatch said: “I’d like there to be more diversity shown within the awards nominations categories.
“I think it’s a crying shame that David Oyelowo isn’t here with us. His performance as Martin Luther King was extraordinary. A spellbinding flawless performance in an exceptional piece of film.”
“I wish David Oyelowo was here tonight. I don’t understand it. He would have got my vote.”
Selma portrays the moment when Martin Luther King led the march from the town of Selma in a bid to force President Lyndon Johnson to guarantee black voting rights.
Last month David Oyelowo told Channel 4 News: “Hollywood still has a problem with black powerful characters in the centre of their own narrative, driving their own destiny forward.
“If you’re playing a subservient character, it lies comfortably within the self-fulfilling prophecy of what it is to be black in America… The difference with Malcolm X or with Selma is that you have characters who are strong, who are leaders, who have a point of view and they are driving that forward for themselves.”