Berlin: Alexander Skarsgard, Michael Pena Question Lack of Diversity Among Actors

War on Everyone Still 2 - Michael Peña and Alexander Skarsgard  - H 2016
Courtesy of Berlin International Film Festival

"There are 20 actors nominated and they're all white," the 'True Blood' star told the 'War on Everyone' press conference. "There's not enough stories told by people that aren't white."

Alexander Skarsgard on Friday responded to the ongoing Oscars diversity controversy by calling for more stories to be told by diverse artists.

"There are 20 actors nominated and they're all white," the True Blood star told the War on Everyone press conference at the Berlin Film Festival. "I can't point to one performance, and say, 'That guy or that girl shouldn't have been nominated.' But systematically, yes, there's a problem, that there's not more diversity, that there's not movies with great characters and roles for people that aren't white."

Michael Pena — his co-star in John Michael McDonagh's War on Everyone, which is having its world premiere in Berlin’s Panorama section — didn't single out the Academy to explain this year's lack of nominations for diverse actors.

"Is it the voting body, is it like, how many Latin movies are great, how many Mexican-Americans in our country are making that particular art-house movies, or big budget movies?" Pena questioned as he unpacked the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.

He pointed to the Oscar frontrunner The Revenant, Alejandro G. Inarritu's survival Western, as a big-budget movie made by Mexicans that has netted nominations. "There's a lot of diversity there. So where are they in the diversity conversation?" Pena added.

War on Everyone stars Pena and Skarsgard as corrupt cops out to blackmail every criminal they meet. Skarsgard agreed the Academy wasn't solely to blame for the lack of diversity in the Oscar nominations.

"I don't think it's about the Academy that discriminated against one actor or one group for a specific performance, or a movie that was supposed to deserve more nominations," he told the Berlin presser. "There's not enough stories told by people that aren't white."

McDonagh, whose earlier films The Guard and Calvary screening at the Berlin Film Festival, missed the press conference Friday, as he's in Australia.