Cyrus Nowrasteh, the filmmaker behind the ABC docudrama "The Path to 9/11" and the Showtime movie "The Day Reagan Was Shot," says the left's push for more black Oscar nominations is actually damaging to black people in Hollywood.
Nowrasteh made the comments during a wide-ranging interview over the weekend with Mediaite columnist John Ziegler.
Toward the end of their discussion, the two men talked about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that dominated much of last year and, ultimately, led to comedian Chris Rock, who hosted the 2016 Oscars, and other celebrities at last year's Academy awards spending "80 percent of the ceremony" highlighting the issue, according to Ziegler.
"It’s a real shame, too," Nowrasteh said. "Because you say to yourself, 'Is [actress] Viola Davis going to win tonight because of her performance [in 'Fences'] or is she going to win tonight because a bunch of people got upset last year?'"
"She’s such an incredible actress and her performance is fantastic in that movie," he continued. "The very idea you’d have to think that is unfortunate."
Ziegler told the Hollywood producer said that was "the most wise thing" said in the entire interview, adding that he "couldn't agree with that more."
"It pisses me off that people — for their own liberal agenda — make this an issue and they destroy the accomplishment for the foreseeable future," Ziegler said. "Because now you are forced to wonder, 'OK. Was Denzel [Washington] really that good? Or was it just because they needed a black guy that people knew to nominate to make sure that the controversy from last year was extinguished.'"
Davis did, of course, go on to win the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her role alongside actor Denzel Washington in the movie "Fences." In fact, as the Los Angeles Times pointed out, Sunday night's award ceremony was a record-breaking night for African Americans in Hollywood.
Actor Mahershala Ali took home the award for Best Supporting Actor for his role in "Moonlight," which went on to win the Oscar for Best Picture. And Ezra Edelman, who is biracial, won the Best Documentary award for "O.J. Simpson: Made in America."
Ziegler, who said it is "not irrational" now to ask why an African-American star is given an award, said having to wonder such a thing "is wrong."
"It has the exact opposite result than what would be, theoretically, intended by the original controversy," he concluded.