Stephen King, author of such classic works as IT and The Shining, has come under fire for some recent tweets he shared in response to the recent Oscar nominations.
The Academy has been criticized this year for a lack of diversity and representation amongst its 2020 Oscars nominees. King shared his thoughts on the matter and, to say the least, it didn’t go over particularly well.
The 72-year-old author weighed in on the issue, which has been a major topic of debate amongst movie fans since the nominations came out. No female directors were nominated, for example. Instead, everyone nominated in the Best Director category was white and male. Stephen King, however, in a series of tweets, explained that he doesn’t feel the need to consider diversity in assessing the quality of art. Here’s what he had to say.
“As a writer, I am allowed to nominate in just 3 categories: Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Original Screenplay. For me, the diversity issue, as it applies to individual actors and directors, anyway, did not come up… I would never consider diversity in matters of art. Only quality. It seems to me that to do otherwise would be wrong.”
The replies to the Oscars tweets were largely in disagreement with this sentiment. Many stated that they respect Stephen King, who is easily one of the most prolific authors of his time, but that they felt his statements were very out of touch. In a later tweet, King offered some clarification, explaining that he feels the issue comes down to a lack of representation.
“The most important thing we can do as artists and creative people is make sure everyone has the same fair shot, regardless of sex, color, or orientation. Right now such people are badly under-represented, and not only in the arts.”
Speaking further in yet another Academy Awards themed tweet the author said, “You can’t win awards if you’re shut out of the game.” While that may be how Stephen King feels, it may not hold hold a ton of water. For example, plenty of heralded 2019 movies were directed by women. Greta Gerwig helmed Little Women, which went on to earn a Best Picture nomination, so it would seem her work is perfectly worthy of a nomination, as just one example. Director Ava DuVernay (Selma) had an impassioned response to King’s words.
“When you wake up, meditate, stretch, reach for your phone to check on the world and see a tweet from someone you admire that is so backward and ignorant you want to go back to bed.”
In recent years, Stephen King has become a big-ticket name in Hollywood as his stories are being snatched up left and right for new adaptations on both the big screen and TV. The 92nd annual Academy Awards telecast is set for Sunday, February 9 on ABC. Feel free to check out the posts from Stephen King’s official Twitter for yourself, as well as some of the responses that we’ve collected.