The director of Oscar-nominated The Revenant wishes politicians would tone down the anti-immigrant rhetoric | WBEZ
Skip to main content

Studio 360

The director of Oscar-nominated The Revenant wishes politicians would tone down the anti-immigrant rhetoric

The Oscar-winning director Alejandro González Iñárritu has never been shy about his support for immigrants — or his disdain for anti-immigrant rhetoric. Recently, Iñárritu has spoken out against 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 picked up more nominations for this year's Academy Awards than any other movie, including nods for best picture and best director.

This story first aired on Studio 360 with Kurt Andersen.

Get the WBEZ App

Download the best live and on-demand public radio experience. Find out more.