Alejandro G. Inarritu on Diversity Push: ‘These Changes Are A Great Step’

Alejandro G. Inarritu on Diversity: 'These
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Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu has called for Hollywood to do far more in the wake of the push for more minority and female members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

“The demographic complexity of this country should be reflected not only at the end of the chain, but since the beginning, in order that more of these people can be excited and integrated,” he said Saturday in response to a question at the Producers Guild of America’s breakfast panel at the Ricardo Montalban Theater in Hollywood.

Inarritu was one of 10 producers from each of the films nominated for the PGA’s Darryl F. Zanuck Award to honor the top feature film of the year. He won the award last year for “Birdman” and is a nominee this year for “The Revenant.” The winner will be announced Saturday night.

“These changes the Academy has made are a great step,” he added. “But the Academy is at the end of the chain. Hopefully these positive changes can start from the beginning of the chain.”

Inarritu also asserted that diversity in the U.S. is a key reason why the nation is  powerful and vibrant and that movies should reflect that.

“Cinema is a mirror by which we often see ourselves,” he added. “That’s the role we play as filmmakers. If that power is not transmitted on the screens, there’s something wrong.”

Diversity issues were also highlighted by the PGA having given a Zanuck nomination to “Straight Outta Compton,” which received only a single Oscar nomination for screenplay. The film was represented by producer Scott Bernstein, subbing for director-producer F. Gary Gray who was stuck in New York by the massive snow storm.

“We never made this film to be nominated,” Bernstein said.

Instead, he said that the producers had always been driven by the fact that the origin story of the iconic rap group N.W.A had remained unknown to many people — and that the story had a strong political bent. “It’s about giving a voice to the voiceless,” he added.

He also said that the production became a part of the communities in which it was filming due to that recognition. “I never felt as if my wife were in danger,” he added.

Bernstein noted that it was essential to shoot the film, which carries a $29 million price tag, in Southern California. It received a California tax credit for doing so.

The 90-minute panel also included revelations from producers as to the intricacies of putting together films — and the fact that projects can come together with surprising speed. Dede Gardner, who won the award two years ago for “12 Years a Slave,” noted that Brad Pitt had sparked to the Michael Lewis book “The Big Short” nearly instantly.

“We gave it to Brad and the next day he came in and said, ‘I’m going to be in this,'” she recalled. “The characters were larger than life.”

Michael Schaefer, a producer on “The Martian,” said he saw a similar reaction when Ridley Scott became aware of the project. “He originally wanted to shoot on Mars,” he added.

Inarritu and Bernstein both admitted that their films had been shot in sequence to help deepen the stories. “You make discoveries in the process that make the film better,” Inarritu added.

The other panelists included Kristie Macosko Krieger from “Bridge of Spies”; Finola Dwyer, “Brooklyn”; Andrew Macdonald, “Ex Machina”; Doug Mitchell, “Mad Max: Fury Road”; and Michael Sugar, “Spotlight.”

 

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  1. Nanny Mo says:

    This change is racist and disgusting. I used to see the Oscars as an award of talent where Sidney Sidney Poitier or Brad Pitt had to prove themselves by talent. Now, I won’t be able to look at the award again without seeing the racist politics and thinking would Nina Foch still be considered worthy enough to vote by today’s generations of Academy Elites. So much for an equal community of artists! Man, if I can’t vote, I’m not paying dues! It’s so disgusting.

  2. TJE says:

    Males, in general, have a physical strength advantage over females, in general. This is why males and females are separated in athletics. The females wouldn’t have a chance. Another way they could do it would be to award prizes based on a quota – say 50/50. If there are 10 contests, therefore, 5 winners would be male and 5 would be female – no matter if 10 males really won. The goal is to ‘be fair’, because there is no realistic way females can hope to compete with males on a level playing field.

    So, in a similar way, what some people seem to be saying is that ‘minorities’ cannot hope to compete with white actors on a level playing field. They need a chance; let’s do quotas. Wow. That is a huge insult to minorities. Why no outcry?

  3. Xander says:

    If Iñarritu wants more diversity perhaps he should make morenfilms with diverse casts. He did with Babel and Amores Perros but after that what? I hate that people who are Academy members (Will Smith, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Iñarritu) are talking as if they weren’t Academy members ,producers, directors and therefore not part of the problem. All of them are at least one, if not all 3 and therefore part of the problem.

    Let them bring valuable stories to the big screen.

  4. i agree with inarritu that steps to expand and diversify membership in the academy, and voting for ultimate oscar winners, is a positive step. however, that is not the right step, in my opinion, to promote a more reliable, diverse (and inclusive) nomination process.

    i think the academy should nominate–as do other awards processes– through much smaller committees (maybe 6-8 members each) who commit to actually watching and discussing all films that request consideration. the nomination process should commit to nominating the films that truly reflect the artistry and appeal that is as relatively “undeniable”, for example, as the selection processes in film festivals like sundance and telluride.

    these committees need not be comprised solely of academy members. then, once the nominations are announced, the entire expanded academy membership can participate in choosing “winners” (actually, for the first time, the nomination itself would be an honor and a victory).

    • Warner Brown says:

      I wouldn’t trust 6-8 people in my room. And who would these people be? I don’t think that many people could really Gauge a population’s feels on different films, in order to come to a conclusion. That sounds like Survivor or something.

      Bottom line about film and cinema, is whoever is nominated despite color, race, heritage, should and are considered. This is one of those years…whereby African Americans did not come out with that many good films (with exceptions, I do think Str8 outta compton was snubbed, along is Idris Elba) but it’s not as if Black actors and directors have never been nominated, and never won. They have. This is just not the year. In the end it’s about what makes a great film? regardless or race or gender. There are plenty of films that won academy awards that touched on these issues, dallas buyers club, 12 years a slave, monster’s ball, and countless others. In the end, most of these films aren’t even American, they’re from around the globe. While I think Str8 was snubbed..let’s pose this question to African American filmmakers who feel they’ve been wronged (and you have) don’t make it a racecard issue. Just make a fvcking great film, and let’s see it up there on the Oscars so we can cheer for you. Peace out

  5. Kilroy Was Here... says:

    Let’s see Mexican filmmaker Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu comes to the USA, and demands diversity? He’s not WE THE PEOPLE of the USA! What if a White Director went down MEXICO to demand more WHITE FILMS in Mexico? Would the people of Mexico put up with that?? I doubt it! It’s a DOUBLE STANDERED! GO BACK TO MEXICO! He’s a Hypocrite, what has he done to make Mexican films more diverse? Has he brought White people down to Mexico to cast them in Mexican films? Has he asked writers to join him in Mexico??? Whites are always accused from the SJW! If the USA WAS SO BAD ILLEGAL ALIENS WOULDN’T SEE JOBS HERE $$$! Just like Gay False Flags! People are sick of being accused! What happen’s when the SJW’s soon become the ACCUSED?! What goes around comes around! Jada Pinkett Smith doesn’t get it, neither does Alejandro! Once you keep poking a dog, it will eventually BITE YOU!

    • Spider says:

      He’s NOT demanding anything JACKASS. He IS NOT bitching NOR threatening to boycott the Oscars NOR releasing whiny videos to generate publicity.He’s championing more opportunities for minority and female talent. He is a well-respected (AND DESERVEDLY SO)Mexican director who has worked with so many white actors: Michael Keaton, Leo DiCaprio, Sean Penn, Brad Pitt, etc. (..or are YOU pissed that HE WON the OSCAR last year for “BIRDMAN”?????) Why aren’t you bitching about his ongoing inclination to cast so many ‘white actors” in his films??….. And yes, there have been many “white actors” cast in Mexican films since the days of Anthony Quinn and farther back.. Mexico’s film industry, though potent, isn’t Hollywood. The acting world has an orgasmic fascination with Hollywood. This is where dreams come true. The USA is the land of opportunities and YES, THIS IS a nation of immigrants. Your comments are the very fiber of hateful racists that just LOVE stirring the pot. Remember, the so-called “illegal aliens”(NOT ALL OF THEM ARE ILLEGAL) are the VERY foundation of this country. Without them, this country’s economy would seriously collapse. I applaud the opportunities this country have afforded so many families, regardless, of sex, race, creed, and color! #MexicansforInarritu

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