Several members of the entertainment community are outraged no African-American actors have been nominated in the top four categories at the 88th Academy Awards ceremony, which takes place in February (16). Many people are boycotting the Oscars in protest this year for the lack of diversity, including actress Jada Pinkett Smith and her actor husband Will Smith.

But Redford doesn't want to get involved in the dialogue at all, noting he has no interest in debating over the Academy Awards.

"I'm not into the Oscars. I'm not into that," the 79-year-old said during the Day One Press Conference at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival, according to Indiewire. "What I mean is that I'm not focused on that part of it. To me it's about the work.

"Whatever reward comes from that is great, but I don't think about it. Because there is nothing more important or exciting than the work when you are doing it. Once that work is done, I back off, whatever comes from that is fine, but it's nothing that occupies my thinking."

Redford co-founded the Sundance Film Festival in 1978 with the intention of diversifying the movie industry.

"Diversity comes out of the word independence," he emphasised. "If you're independent-minded, you're going to do things different from the common form, then you're going to have more diverse products. That's something I think we're generally pretty proud of, is how we show diversity in the festival because we think it's important."

Redford believes independent filmmakers address issues of discrimination and segregation in a manner that is distinctly different from the approach some mainstream Hollywood executives take.

He is convinced lower-budget movies are in some ways more honest when it comes to highlighting society's ills.

"When we have these issues that come up, we don't bring them up, we just bring a spotlight on the artists who bring them up," Redford said of what he aims to accomplish by showcasing lesser-known movies at Sundance. "The artists are making films about what's on the public mind."