Mark Rylance: ‘Black Actors Are In A Stronger Position Now’

Following his surprise win at the Oscars, best supporting actor winner Rylance spoke about diversity and praised the host’s opening monologue

Mark Rylance backstage

Mark Rylance, who won the best supporting Oscar for Bridge of Spies, over the touted front-runner Sylvester Stallone, addressed the competition backstage following his victory: “I know it’s necessary to make a show out of it, but I feel like you’re more of a spokesman when you win, than someone who’s better than the other nominees. I don’t take it too seriously.”

Rylance made a point to single out some non-nominated performances, including Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation, who’s omission when the nominees were first announced helped kickstart the #OscarsSoWhite movement.

Asked to address the lack of diversity in Hollywood, Rylance praised Chris Rock’s opening Oscars monologue, which didn’t shy away from calling out the industry for its deep-rooted problems.

“I think African American actors are in a stronger position now thanks a lot to what Chris Rock has done tonight,” said Rylance, “and thanks to what the activists who have been raising the issue about this awards ceremony have said. I hope that this awareness that’s been raised – very humorously by Chris tonight and angrily by other people, understandably – I hope that it’s going to create a lot more diversity.”

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“I think also there’s a big issue for women,” he added. “That’s been as big an issue for me in these months coming up to this: the revelations about just how dominated this major storytelling form of our culture is by men. I know it’s true in the Shakespeare world where I work, that there aren’t the King Lear parts for the great actresses.”

Rylance said he also believes audiences can help further industry-wide change: “It’s a matter of audiences taking this on,” he said. “It’s a matter of audiences not just going out for the safe bet, but taking a chance on unusual films that tell stories about issues or people who are the minority in society.”

Source: guardian

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