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.”
“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.”