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Lee Daniels on the Oscars: Hollywood don’t owe me nothing

Larry King NowJan 11 '17

Lee Daniels weighs in on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, arguing that creatives shouldn’t be in this business for the awards, and that America doesn’t owe him – or anyone else – anything.

Lee Daniels: I don’t expect any of my films or any of my TV shows or anything that I do…

Larry King: I know, I told you I thought“The Butler” should have won everything.

Lee Daniels: Thank you.

Larry King: You didn’t even get nominated.

Lee Daniels: Thank you. Thank you.

Larry King: That had to make you feel bad. I know you didn’t do it to make awards, but you had to feel bad.

Lee Daniels: Yeah. Uh…

Larry King: Shunned?

Lee Daniels: No, I felt that I had to go on and do greater things.

Larry King: Really?

Lee Daniels: And that was “Empire.”

Larry King: Yeah, “Empire” followed “Butler.”

Lee Daniels: Yeah, I mean I had to… The minute that you’re in it for the awards, your lost. And for those that say ‘we need awards’ I say, you know, ‘fuck you.’ But I remember being on the red carpet, they’re saying ‘you’re gonna get the awards. You’re gonna get the awards.’ And then I was on the same red carpet, a press person said ‘why didn’t you get any awards?’ I said, ‘I didn’t say I was getting any awards, you said I was getting the awards.’ You can’t…

Larry King: There’s no disappointment?

Lee Daniels: I think that you’ve… for the actors I felt that, you know, I felt that there were some incredible performances I thought that they – yeah, I was sad. But I don’t expect it. America don’t owe me nothing. Hollywood don’t owe me nothing. I owe me something.

Larry King: You also criticized the #OscarSoWhite controversy. What was your stand in that?

Lee Daniels: I don’t know, I think it was… you take these headlines, I’ll say a couple of words, and you put them together, and you don’t look at the whole picture. My body of work speaks for itself. You know, I know I’m a good man.

Larry King: So you didn’t get involved in the Oscars being so white?

Lee Daniels: Uh yeah.

Larry King: It did bother you, or it didn’t bother you?

Lee Daniels: I felt like this. I can only live, I can only tell my story. And my story, again, is that I came to Hollywood with seven dollars in my pocket off the bus. Period. And, you know, the studios, there wasn’t a studio that was messing with me. Doors were slammed in my face left and right. And if I let that consume me, I wouldn’t be where I’m at. I didn’t think twice. I went out and made it happen myself. Hook or crook, I made a movie happen. It just so happened that the movies I was making were winning awards for people, you know? And I didn’t think that “Empire” was going to “Empire.” I didn’t know that we were changing things. My job was to make sure that black people and people of color, that minority people, that minorities were employed. That was my job, or my mission. I was there to do my work and then make sure that I had a posse with me, doing the work with me. And I didn’t know that “Empire” was going to do what it was going to do. And that we would be able to do, you know, make as many shows of color that we have.

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