*Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, says she and her colleagues have heard the criticism of the lack of diversity among Oscar nominees, and it has helped spark a global discussion about how to make the entertainment industry more inclusive.
Here’s an idea… employ decision makers who don’t recoil at non-white folks who are seeking work. How can they have serious talks about diversity when the Academy’s 7000 members are mostly white and male?
Cheryl, who is the first African-American woman to head the academy, said “the whole discussion about diversity is a great discussion, because now it’s at the top of everybody’s mind, not just the academy’s.”
The 2015 Academy Awards boasted an all-white roster of acting nominees, inspiring the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite on social media.
“It is now a global discussion, and that’s really important,” she said during a reception at the U.S. ambassador’s London residence for new European members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Huff Post reports that the event included actors Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, directors Ridley Scott and Tom Hooper and former “Dynasty” star Joan Collins.
322 new Academy members were announced back in June, including actors Benedict Cumberbatch and David Oyelowo, musicians Common and John Legend and actress Gugu Mbatha-Raw. Boone Isaacs said it’s the most diverse list than ever before.
Academy chief executive Dawn Hudson said Wednesday that the invitation-only academy was urging all its branches to be more inclusive and look beyond the comfort zone for potential new members.
British actor Patrick Stewart agrees that Hollywood still takes issue with casting older women and black actors, and a “shocking underuse of women directors.” However, he also marveled at how inclusive the business has become toward working with international talent.
“I wrapped a movie four days ago in New York and of the four leading actors, two were American, two were English,” he told the AP. “But we also had a Brazilian actress, a Portuguese actress, a Canadian and a Spanish female director of photography, which was marvelous.”