Justin Simien

“Like everything, there are swings forward and swings back. I can’t say I was surprised, I’ve been a part of this industry for so long,” said Justin Simien at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah.

The Academy Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which oversees Hollywood’s most prestigious award ceremony, attracted significant criticism after 19 of the 20 acting nominees were white.

The potential repeat of 2016’s #OscarsSoWhite controversy was stopped only by Britain’s Cynthia Erivo. She was nominated for Best Actress for the biopic, Harriet.

At the world premiere of his new movie Bad Hair, Simien said: “All I can say is I am just happy to be able to keep chipping away at it and hopefully getting our culture to reflect the people it supposedly serves.”

Simien’s latest film, comedy horror Bad Hair, stars Elle Lorraine as an aspiring TV host in image-obsessed 1980s Los Angeles.

Simien said he hopes the film will trigger conversations about black women’s place in society.

Bad Hair will be released in the UK later this year.