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Dame Helen Mirren defends Academy

DAME Helen Mirren has defended the Academy over the lack of nominations for black actors and actresses at the Oscars.

The 70-year-old star insists it is "unfair" to blame the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences wholeheartedly for the lack of diversity in this year's nods as she believes it is more crucial to look at what kind of films are being made.

Speaking to Channel 4 News, she said: "It just so happened it went that way. Idris Elba absolutely would have been nominated for an Oscar [but] not enough people saw - or wanted to see - a film about child soldiers.

"I'm saying that the issue we need to be looking at is what happens before the film gets to the Oscars. What kind of films are made, and the way in which they're cast, and the scripts ... so it's those things that are much more influential ultimately than who stands there with an Oscar."

Meanwhile, the lack of diversity at this year's Academy Awards has caused a lot of uproar within Hollywood as the likes of Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee have insisted they will boycott the event.

Speaking at the time to confirm she wouldn't be attending, she said: "Is it time that people of colour recognise how much power, influence, that we have amassed, that we no longer need to ask to be invited anywhere? Maybe it's time that we recognise that if we love and respect and acknowledge ourselves in the way in which we are asking others to do, that that is the place of true power."

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