Diverse Voices Added to Academy Leadership
The campaign to bring diversity to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences continues with the appointment of three new governors.
Reginald Hudlin (Directors Branch), Gregory Nava (Writers Branch) and Jennifer Yuh Nelson (Short Films and Feature Animation Branch) were announced as leaders to join the Academy’s 51-seat Board, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced Tuesday.
“I’m proud of the steps we have taken to increase diversity,” Boone Isaacs said. “However, we know there is more to do as we move forward to make this a more inclusive organization.”
Hudlin, who is black, co-produced the 2016 Academy Awards and directed comedies “Boomerang” and “House Party.” Nava, who is of Mexican decent, wrote the “Frida” screenplay. Yuh Nelson is South Korean and directed the second and third sequels of “Kung Fu Panda.”
They were confirmed for three-year terms.
Additionally, several females and people of color were added to critical Board committees, including:
• Actor Gael García Bernal joins the Awards and Events Committee, chaired by First Vice President Jeffrey Kurland.
• Cinematographer Amy Vincent joins the Preservation and History Committee, chaired by Vice President John Bailey.
• Producer Effie Brown joins the Museum Committee, chaired by Vice President Kathleen Kennedy.
• Executive Marcus Hu and Animator Floyd Norman join the Education and Outreach Committee, chaired by Vice President Bill Kroyer.
• Executive Vanessa Morrison joins the Finance Committee, chaired by Treasurer Jim Gianopulos.
• Producer Stephanie Allain joins the Membership and Administration Committee, chaired by Secretary Phil Robinson.
Academy Aims to Bring Diversity, Inclusion After #OscarsSoWhite
The theme of diversity and inclusion comes after the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced historic, sweeping changes designed to “double the number of women and diverse members by 2020” after outrage recently surged on Twitter via the #OscarsSoWhite campaign–a reaction on social media to the second consecutive year people of color were snubbed from major award categories. Stars like Spike Lee, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Michael Moore bowed out of the ceremony, citing a lack of diversity in the program and in the industry.
The Academy recently apologized after tasteless jokes at the expense of Asians were made during the 88th annual award ceremony. Chris Rock trotted out a trio of Asian children and described them as accountants, and Sacha Baron Cohen made an offensive comment about genitalia.
“We are committed to doing our best to ensure that material in future Oscar telecasts be more culturally sensitive,” read the Academy’s statement.