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Tuesday 26 July 2016

Mark Ruffalo admits dilemma over boycott of race-row Academy Awards

Published 20/01/2016 | 02:56

Michael Keaton stars as a journalist in Spotlight (AP)
Michael Keaton stars as a journalist in Spotlight (AP)
Mark Ruffalo is to appear on the red carpet in London for the premiere of his new film Spotlight

Hollywood actor Mark Ruffalo has branded the lack of diversity at this year's Oscars as "terrible" and said he was tempted to join the boycott in protest at the lack of black nominees.

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Film director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith have both said they will not attend the Academy Awards in p rotest at the "lilywhite" ceremony.

Speaking at the UK premiere of his new film Spotlight, Ruffalo, 48, said that while there are more black actors than when he strutted out, Hollywood still has a "long way to go".

Speaking about the Oscar controversy, he told the Press Association: "I think it's terrible.

"And I have a lot of sympathy for it (the boycott) and I completely understand why people are protesting. They have to."

Asked if he supports the boycott, he said: "I do. I've been really struggling with it myself because I do a lot with 'Black Lives Matter' and I'm really struggling because I would in essence probably really seriously think about joining them.

"Except I'm in a movie that's representing a whole other group of disenfranchised people who have no voice in the world and this movie means so much to them.

"And so I totally get it and I support them but I have to demur and I have to stand up for the people I have to stand up for."

Ruffalo, who is nominated for best supporting actor at this year's Oscars, made the comments on the red carpet of the UK launch of his film Spotlight.

The movie chronicles an investigation by journalists at the Boston Globe newspaper who uncovered widespread sexual abuse of children in the Catholic Church.

Ruffalo joined fellow cast members Michael Keaton and Stanley Tucci on the red carpet as the film had its British premiere at the Curzon Cinema in Mayfair.

The film is up for six Oscar nominations, but Ruffalo remained coy about his chances of picking up the statuette for best supporting actor, saying "I'm expecting someone else to win".

The film looks at the scandal of sex abuse in the Catholic Church in Boston, and the collusion and reluctance of the local community to face up to it.

Ruffalo said he was surprised that it took so long for the crimes to be exposed, but said he thought Pope Francis is more willing than his predecessors to address this past abuse.

He told the Press Association: "It's so outrageous, and it clearly has been going on for a very long time.

"And so a lot of people had to turn the other way for this to have been under wraps for so long. I'm just happy that now we are having this conversation and these poor, suffering souls who were the victims of these crimes finally get a voice and finally have been noticed.

"This is not particular to Boston or to America, it has clearly been happening everywhere. And I feel like we have a pope now who is probably more willing than any other pope in the past decades to start to address this issue."

Press Association

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