Hollywood Reacts to Academy’s Diversity Push

Oscars Academy Awards Placeholder
Variety

Hollywood figures have already begun to respond to the Academy’s Friday announcement that it would make major changes to promote diversity.

Director Ava DuVernay was the first to weigh in. The “Selma” director tweeted, “One good step in a long, complicated journey for people of color + women artists.” She added, “Shame is a helluva motivator. … We’ve all felt shame even when we didn’t believe we were wrong. It’s the fact that EVERYONE ELSE thinks you’re wrong. Fix it mode kicks in.”

DuVernay went on, “Marginalized artists have advocated for Academy change for DECADES. Actual campaigns. Calls voiced FROM THE STAGE. Deaf ears. Closed minds.”

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences approved a series of major changes in terms of voting and recruitment, also adding three new seats to the 51-person board — all part of a goal to double the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020. The changes were approved by the board Thursday night in an emergency meeting.

Academy member Bruce Feldman suggested that members of the Academy should have been consulted before such steps were taken.

Chaz Ebert, Roger Ebert’s widow and editor of RogerEbert.com, said, “The Academy took the first step. Now let’s have the studios, production companies, agencies, unions & financiers follow suit for diversity.”

Other notables responded to Charlotte Rampling and Michael Caine’s assertions that the backlash against the lack of diversity in this year’s nominations was actually “racist to whites.”

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  1. Martin Devlin says:

    This Oscars diversity argument really started last year when Selma was passed over. The black community was outraged that a movie about MLK went home with nothing. Here’s the news: there is a great movie waiting to be made about MLK but Selma wasn’t it. It was a mediocre attempt at a very important subject. Average direction and an over rated lead performance does not guarantee awards. Black, female director does not guarantee awards. The academy often get it wrong but in this case they got it right. This year, Jada Pinkett Smith is outraged her husband didn’t get nominated and she probably has a point. Calling for a boycott is a mistake though. His presence will be missed a lot more than hers though.

  2. Doctor Black says:

    What about all the times when no Asian actors get nominated? So what if there are “other” things that might affect nominations, you still have to make a good job in order to be nominated and there still have to be people that actually appreciate your work. If your work wasn’t liked by the ones doing the nominations, then it doesn’t matter if you were the best thing since swizz cheese… it isn’t racist, it just happened to be that you couldn’t make THOSE people enjoy your performance.

  3. Bill B. says:

    I now have a new & much lower opinion of Jeffrey Wright. His vile comment implying that Rampling and Caine’s work wasn’t the reason for their Oscar nominations is racism at its finest.

  4. fed up says:

    There has been plenty of black actors nominated in the past just because now there is is is not the actors are crying wolf and playing the race card gimme a break have you seen the the blank movie there coming out with nothing at all as they use to be

  5. Chuck Watson says:

    Sometimes when everyone else thinks you’re wrong, it means you’re the only one who’s right.

  6. Movie-Lover says:

    Well, hopefully Ms. DuVernay will now – under new Academy recommendations – receive an Oscar nod for actual directorial brilliance, rather than the entitled nod she expected for the competent-at-best SELMA last year.

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