Hollywood must be inclusive, JJ Abrams tells 'Irish Oscars'
'Star Wars' director JJ Abrams has said "there is never a bad time to be inclusive" as Hollywood counts down to its biggest night of the year.
Abrams, whose film 'The Force Awakens' is nominated for five Oscars tomorrow, said a conversation about diversity had to happen.
Arriving at the annual US-Ireland Alliance Oscar Wilde Awards held at his production company Bad Robot, he said: "I think it is never a bad time to talk about being inclusive and the irony is it's just good business.
"Everyone talks about it in this way like it's this other thing, but it's not going away and it's smart.
"When you are inclusive and you have different voices other than the usual suspects you have better stories and more interesting stories, you get performances from people on camera and behind the camera.
"It almost feels ridiculous we are having a conversation about it, it should just be what it is. It's happening, too slowly, but it's happening."
Abrams's 'Star Wars' film, which has made more than $2bn worldwide, features a black actor and a woman in its lead roles and the director added: "It didn't seem to be a problem."
The academy that votes for the Oscars has nominated all white actors for the second year in a row, prompting a public outcry and reforms to the membership of the voting body.
Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey in 'Star Wars', was honoured at the Oscar Wildes and is ready for the Oscars. She said: "Since the film came out it feels like I haven't had time so it's just another thing to add to the roly-poly weirdness. The hindsight is going to be more clear than it is right now."
JJ Abrams rolled out the green carpet for Ireland's Oscar nominees and Hollywood royalty on the night. Winners of awards included TV host James Corden, director Lenny Abrahamson, Northern Ireland group Snow Patrol and actress Sarah Greene.
Actress Amy Huberman showed off a stunning jumpsuit designed by Irish designers Lennon Courtney. She tweeted a picture of herself leaping in the air, telling them: "Your jumpsuit has been tried and tested and totally works! thank you!"
The publicity sparked a flurry of purchases of the white outfit in Dunnes Stores back home in Ireland yesterday, where it is available for €119.
Most of the Irish Academy Award nominees were at the party, including Ed Guiney, Benjamin Cleary, Serena Armitage, Finola Dwyer and others.
Almost all the food was Irish or Irish inspired and the dishes included Irish cocktail sausages with a whiskey mustard, pancakes with Atlantic salmon, and a selection of cheeses from Kerrygold. And naturally, Barry's Tea was also served.