Oscars Academy President Makes Statement After Criticism Over Lack of Diversity –
In 2013 when Cheryl Boone Isaacs was elected the first African American president of the movie industry’s most prominent organization, many hoped her appointment would signal that the academy, long criticized as too old and too white, was actively seeking to diversify its leadership ranks in terms of race and gender.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter earlier Monday evening just before she was honored with the Rosa Parks Humanitarian Award at the King Legacy Awards, presented at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Los Angeles, Boone Isaacs said that “there’s been enough conversation” and that it is time for the entertainment industry to take action to improve diversity.
The lengthy statement on the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscar nominations, which has become the subject of mounting criticism is posted below:
“I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees,” she said. “While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes.
“The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership. In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond,” Boone Isaacs said in what amounted to a rare and unusual move on the part of the Academy.
“As many of you know,” she continued, “we have implemented changes to diversify our membership in the last four years. But the change is not coming as fast as we would like. We need to do more, and better and more quickly.”
“This isn’t unprecedented for the Academy,” added Boone Isaacs. “In the ‘60s and ‘70s, it was about recruiting younger members to stay vital and relevant. In 2016, the mandate is inclusion in all of its facets: gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We recognize the very real concerns of our community, and I so appreciate all of you who have reached out to me in our effort to move forward together.”
She said that she was “disappointed” that, for the second year in a row, the Oscar nominations, announced last week, failed to include any performers of color. Academy CEO Dawn Hudson, who was also in attendance, added that she was “devastated” by the nominations.
(The Verge) – The Academy is still 93 percent white and 76 percent male. The Hollywood Reporter has argued real change may only come when all of the older members die off, but Isaacs’ statement, and her apparent dismay at the lack of diversity on show in the nominees, does at least show that the Academy is taking the issue seriously.
A statement from Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs pic.twitter.com/Nqhgc7sbqG
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) January 19, 2016