The Oscar-winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu has never been shy about his support for immigrants — or his disdain for anti-immigrant rhetoric. In an interview with Kurt Andersen, Iñárritu takes on the xenophobic comments of Donald Trump and other Republican presidential hopefuls.
Trump's anti-immigrant bias "is coming from ignorance," the Mexican-born Iñárritu says, adding that he pities the candidate. "To be so rich and to be so bitter — it's a poor man whose only possession is money." According to Iñárritu, Trump and other Republican candidates are "plant[ing] seeds of hate" by blaming undocumented immigrants for crime. "When you generalize like that, you are taking out the humanity, the integrity of human lives. That has been historically the way horrible things have happened to humanity."
In June, Trump declared that Mexicans coming to the United States were "bringing crime." "They're rapists," Trump said. In the ensuing controversy, Trump refused to back down. He defended his position in an interview with CNN, saying, "If you look at the statistics of people coming, you look at the statistics on rape, on crime, on everything coming in illegally into this country, it’s mind-boggling!" Since then, the candidate has gone on to propose a ban on Muslims entering the country.
Iñárritu’s 2006 film "Babel" included a subplot involving an undocumented Mexican immigrant facing deportation. And at last year's Academy Awards, Iñárritu dedicated the best picture Oscar for his film "Birdman" to his "fellow Mexicans," both those living in Mexico and those in the United States. "I just pray that they can be treated with the same dignity and respect of the ones who came before and built this incredible immigrant nation," Iñárritu said from the stage.
Iñárritu's latest film, "The Revenant," won Golden Globes for best drama and best director, and is a favorite for nominations in several categories at this year's Academy Awards. You can hear more from Kurt's interview with Iñárritu on this week's Studio 360.
UPDATE: On Thursday, "The Revenant" received 12 Academy Award nominations — more than any other film this year — including best picture and best director.