Oscar Telecast Will Be ‘Most Diverse Ever,’ Says Producer at Luncheon

Oscar producers vow this year's show
Photo by Rob Latour/REX/Shutterstock

This year’s Oscar show “will be the most diverse ever,” producer David Hill told Variety on Monday at the Oscar nominees luncheon. Despite the lack of acting nominees of color, Hill and fellow Academy Awards producer Reginald Hudlin have been working since September to make sure the Oscars “will have true diversity and will represent what the world looks like.”

The remarks were made at the 35th annual event at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. Hudlin said that an Oscar nomination is “an amazing moment in the life of any nominee,” and that the lunch is intended to celebrate their accomplishments.

They agreed that it’s crucial for the entire film industry to attain inclusion, but there is also room to celebrate the great film work of 2015, which been somewhat overshadowed in the past month. Or, as Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences’ president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in addressing the luncheon crowd: “This year, there’s an elephant in the room. I have asked the elephant to leave.”

On Monday, a few contenders addressed the elephant — diversity and #Oscarssowhite.

Sylvester Stallone said he asked “Creed” director Ryan Coogler if he should boycott the Oscars, emphasizing that Coogler is the reason he received a nomination. “I said, ‘If you want me to go I’ll go, if you don’t, I won’t.’ And he goes, ‘No we want you to go.’ That’s the kind of guy he is,” Stallone said.

“I do believe that things will change — it’s just a matter of time,” Stallone said. “Eventually all talent will rise to the top. It’s just a matter of getting, I guess, a new paradigm, a new way of thinking.”

Tom McCarthy of “Spotlight” said: “I think Cheryl has done an amazing job of navigating change. I think it’s a great example of how quickly change can come about when people are serious. I have a lot of faith in our community, filmmakers, storytellers, to sort of lead the way. I think we always have in some way.”

George Miller, who directed best picture nominee “Mad Max: Fury Road,” noted that he thinks casting and films are story-driven. “If the story warrants it, of course there should be diversity of all kinds,” Miller said.

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While many nominees spoke about diversity in terms of racial inequality, others addressed different forms of injustice.

Eddie Redmayne said he hopes “The Danish Girl” continues the conversation about transgender issues. “And yet, what is dumbfounding is that it’s almost 100 years since Lili and Gerda’s story. What’s staggering to me is how long it’s taken and how much of a distance there is to go,” Redmayne said.

“Spotlight’s” Rachel McAdams discussed starring in a male-heavy cast. “I took Sacha’s lead because she was the only woman on a team of men on the real Spotlight team. She always felt she was an equal, integral part of the team and that she was treated that way.”

“Room” director Lenny Abrahamson emphasized that he and screenwriter Emma Donoghue really thought about how society should treat people who have gone through terrible things. “We should treat them not as a resource for entertainment but as people who need care and compassion,” Abrahamson said.

When a reporter asked Brie Larson about her dress for the Oscars, the actress responded, “Oh. That’s what you wanna ask me?”

Larson did answer the question, but saying she wants her clothes to express “what’s happening on the inside. So, my goal with each dress that I’ve worn is just to try and reflect what my soul looks like, which is far more complicated than any dress could ever be.”

Inside the nominees luncheon, the emphasis was on work. The Academy has a democratic seating method, in which a best-pic producer sits at the same table as makeup people, and a star like Matt Damon sits with short-subject and foreign-language contenders. The goal is to make every table equally important and give film workers a chance to speak with people whose work they admired.

After Boone Isaacs’ speech, Hudlin and Hill spoke to the 100-plus nominees in attendance about Oscarcast logistics, such as keeping their speeches brief. A new crawl was demoed that will show names of people being thanked by winners onscreen during their speeches. Oscar host Chris Rock did not attend.

Among those who showed up for the schmoozing and celebration were 15 acting nominees, including Jennifer Lawrence, Leonardo DiCaprio and Matt Damon. Also there: all five directing contenders, including George Miller and Saturday night’s DGA winner Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu. Best-song contender Lady Gaga got a shout-out from Hill, who said he’d produced many Super Bowls, but her rendition of the national anthem was the best.

Aside from Lawrence, DiCaprio and Damon, actors in attendance at the luncheon were Bryan Cranston, Eddie Redmayne, Brie Larson, Charlotte Rampling, Saoirse Ronan, Christian Bale, Mark Ruffalo, Sylvester Stallone, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rooney Mara, Rachel McAdams and Alicia Vikander.

The acting no-shows were Cate Blanchett, Michael Fassbender, Tom Hardy, Mark Rylance and Kate Winslet, all of whom have been low-profile during the campaign season.

Also at the high-energy luncheon were AMPAS CEO Dawn Hudson, Academy branch governors and former presidents, and execs from ABC and Walt Disney Co. including Bob Iger.

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  1. Margy Sanger says:

    stay tuned for the African General’s on parade. Where they speak of, and accomplish, complete and total ruination of anything, then blame whitey.

  2. lyn says:

    Just come to Atlanta GA, for over 50 years there has been no diversity or inclusion from blacks extended to anyone. This would make a interesting movie topic.

  3. Wayne says:

    Does anyone with half a wit really give a crap about this event, or it’s participants; that are rather ordinary and below average people elevated through photoshopping, in a area of the economy that reflects the degenerate and delusional millennial population of a declining civilization. When these dolts air their vacuous arguments concerning so-called “inequality” and “injustice”, you can bet their world – if it possibly could be realized – would bring far more injustice than today by further biasing regulations in favor of women, blacks, and browns.

  4. Max Power says:

    Just don’t watch. Problem solved.

  5. Mike says:

    Hollywood filmaking…..really??…… Zoolander 5, slavery movie, Fast and Furious 32, Superman 53, Spiderman 18, slavery movie, Batman 129, slavery movie, …. meh.

    • jo says:

      the negros petition and complain to change everything in their favor. Gymnastics is ghetto. NBA is ghetto. NFL is ghetto. Soon oscars will be ghetto.

      Their culture is a virus and you fools let it on your boats to america. Serves you right.

  6. no1hd says:

    They will be represented by a mix of people that have no reflections of the public. I bet close to 50% black and the balance other than black. Next years Black Oscars will have zero whites, same as bet, ncaa and black Miss America.
    I could care less, I am sick of the show and the racist blacks and the people that give in to them. You want me to watch from now on, make it 100% white. Same with the sponsors, keep it up and you will lose.

  7. Allie F. says:

    Does anyone really care? Hollywood produces no relevant films these days. Just re-hash and ridiculous special effects. Great films are now a thing of the past. Truly sad.

  8. S Page says:

    How many people even watch the Oscars? I haven’t watched an entire show since Bob Hope or Johnny Carson hosted.

  9. Exnjcop says:

    I’m not sure I’d want to be a member of an organization whose President believes it’s membership is racist because a secret ballot was taken and all nominees were White. The President didn’t ask her membership if they were racist bigots but she felt free to PRESUME they were bigots based on the results. Moreover the President felt free to act on her presumption and cut old, white members from the rolls while adding 3 all minority Directors whose spots are reserved for them regardless of possibly more qualified whites.So….in effect… the Black President gets to define racists without proof And act in a racist manner in return by excluding Whites. I’m not sure this is what King had in mind.

  10. gonedaddygone says:

    Promises to be the Most Worst Ever… you could not pay me watch this tripe.

  11. Nanny Mo says:

    I am not going to watch it. I hate racism and this just reeks of it.

  12. Absolutely Wright says:

    Diversity? Oh goody. Will they give that idiot Cam Newton some kind of participation award?

  13. caligula says:

    that’s the best Oscar Nominee class in many years. looks perfect!

  14. Bill says:

    I can’t wait to hear ABC promo this show. “Sunday night the most diverse Oscar ever! Tune in to see people whose heritage is from France, England, Nigeria, Germany, Russia, China, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Iran, Ireland, Iraq, Turkey, Libya, …”

  15. Samuel Hain says:

    “Diversity” means No Whites Need Apply. It’s pure anti-white Racism.

  16. Greg says:

    Oh goody. Can’t wait.

  17. Bill B. says:

    So many seem angry about a lot of this. I wouldn’t be surprised if the ratings were down as this seems to have offended an awful lot of people, but it will be interesting to find out if that’s true or not. The Academy needs to be a bit careful though. If all or most of the presenters are of color, it could have a big effect on how large the audience is next year, especially with a black film (Birth of a Nation) already proclaimed as one of the front runners if not THE front runner for next year. I don’t think the Oscars attract a lot of minority viewers as even Rock joked last time about how few straight black men watch this show. It could be the beginning of the end if they lose a lot of their white audience as well. The Academy should have stayed out of it with the honest statement that sometimes they are nominated and sometimes they are not, but Issacs has made this a bigger issue that otherwise would have gone away by now. I agree that more minorities should be voters as it currently out of proportion and I think more minorities should be cast in roles that could be played by any race, but that is the best that can happen. Minorities, at this point in time, are always going to receive less nominations simply because there are less of them which is one of the definitions of being a minority and studios are not going to pour many millions into films that cater to a specific minority. Art aside, this is a business. A big one.

  18. Sad to observe the arrogant and myths that White films and actors are better than their Non-White counterparts ..These prejudices litter Hollywood and are reflective of the exclusionary culture of Hollywood and America as well…

  19. Tom Menino says:

    “Please don’t judge me based solely on the color of my skin.”
    “Please judge me based solely on the color of my skin.”

    OK, which one is it today? We’re all losing track out here and are pretty much about to give up on you all.

  20. odinsacolyte says:

    Have not watched the Oscars in thirty years. Awards an industry gives itself. They may as well call the show the Narcissus.

  21. Nearboston says:

    One man’s Diversity is another mans Divisiveness.

  22. herdofpugs says:

    Greta Garbo, one of Hollywood’s greatest beauties and legends never won an Oscar.
    I don’t remember ever hearing about her displaying poor sportsmanship, throwing a tantrum, insulting the actual winners and doing her best to make them feel guilty for having won.
    Does anyone remember anyone doing this before black people started messing things up?

  23. herdofpugs says:

    If Hollywood wants to become the Detroit of California be my guest.

  24. Ken says:

    Can Cheryl Boone Isaacs and posse find a way to make all of this year’s white nominees (selected by their professional peers) feel even MORE awkward and uncomfortable than they already are? Sheesh…what a circus!

  25. isn’t most DIVERSE a code word for anti WHITE Hollywood been dead for 50 years now isn’t time to burry it …goodby hollywood hello black nazi racist police BS

  26. Hypocrisy says:

    No problem for Beyonce to pay tribute to a bIack raclst group during the Superbowl, but it is totally unacceptable to have any group with all, or majority white….. yeah, right.

  27. Jack Coyote says:

    Diversity has no impact on what i watch. Something is either entertain or not, funny or not. No one cares except the racial arsonists who see a conspiracy behind every camera.

  28. jnsesq says:

    Most diverse! I absolutely guarantee I will not miss it — nor will I watch it.

  29. Margy Sanger says:

    next year all of the blacks will adorn themselves in military general garb, complete with an array of shiny medals and claim dominance over the other generals. Following will be a parade of Toyota king-cabs with 50 cal machine guns haphazardly bolted to the beds

  30. Noah Fing-Whey says:

    Most diverse ever? I guess no white people then.

  31. Cali says:

    So not necessarily the best, just the most diverse. I guess this is what America has become. We no longer want the “best” we want the most “colorful”. China is just about ready to cook us for lunch.

  32. jnsesq says:

    Gosh! I’m gonna miss all this… diversity. You bet I am!

  33. Bill says:

    They want to make sure the Oscars “will represent what the world looks like.” I hope they give us the exact proportions of the Chinese, Swedes, Eskimos, and Mormons.

    • Cali says:

      don’t forget disabled, muslims, unattractive, hispanic, German, Russian, Irish, etc… If they don’t select some from these categories, they are obviously racist and hateful.

  34. marg1 says:

    What would a photo of the NFL look like?

  35. Joan Carsey says:

    Maybe the last-watched.

  36. I absolutely despise this age we live in. I would’ve loved to have lived in the America with money backed by something real, before political correctness poisoned our children, before a plagiarist woman-beater hired by the CIA was canonized to sainthood by our backwards society and media – even elevated above Washington and Lincoln – so magnanimous, in fact, that his wife somehow had his CIA file sealed for 100 years.

  37. Scott says:

    I think that voting for these ‘stars’ needs to examined. There is simply no racial diversity. Its’s past time we took a look at the voting for the NBA All Star team.

  38. Jeff Kelly says:

    Perhaps we should make America diverse by proportionality in all arenas. We have already dumbed down our schools with diversity programs. Now Hollywood. Let’s do professional sports next. Way too dark for our “diverse nation”!

  39. The most un-watched event ever.

  40. Betsy Heckman says:

    I am not a betting person, but I would wager that this year’s Oscars will be the least watched EVER…the nonsense that people should get awards for being black or Latino is ridiculous, not to mention the fact that these are awards for UBER wealthy, actors for playing a role…gee, at a time when most Americans have trouble finding a decent paying job, we really don’t care if someone’s little feelings are hurt…give me a break

  41. caligula says:

    no one cares about your idiotic “diversity” crap.

  42. Exnjcop says:

    Let me see now…..With no proof of racism other than white nominees, the Academy responds by excluding old, white members and adding 3 Director positions that can ONLY be held by minorities. No whites need apply regardless of achievement. Who exactly are the racists here? Does anyone think that next year when all nominees are minorities the award will have the same stature? The winners will be stigmatized with the perception that they won because of their skin color. In this instance, perceived and unprovable racism was turned into real racism followed by the demeaning of the organization.

  43. Phynius T. Phartwinkle says:

    And the hysterical back-side smooching continues apace.

  44. nearboston says:

    Cancel the show. Will anyone really care?

  45. TruthHurts says:

    #NBASoBlack #NFLSoBlack

  46. pageoturner says:

    Who cares? Diversity is just another affirmative action program for losers.

  47. mhatr says:

    Brie Larson: I don’t care what your soul looks like but the designer who lent you a free dress would like some credit. And as for a diverse Oscars, let see how many different channels we can surf thru in 3+ hours

  48. America Has Become Weak says:

    Boo hoo.

  49. Phil says:

    13% of the population… An observably violent population. Take a look at the most dangerous places in America and see how many of them have large black populations…

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