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Oscars Make Plans to increase diversity

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The Oscars are trying to turn things around, in the wake of this year’s nominations where no actor of color was recognized in any of the four acting categories.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced Friday, it will add three seats to its 51-person board in an effort to double the number of minorities and women in the Academy by 2020, according to Variety.

It also met with African-American host Chris Rock to make sure he’s still on board. Rock, has been under pressure to drop out as host from many credible people of power in the entertainment industry as the fall-out continues.

Variety points out that, of 305 eligible films this year, only a handful were made by minority directors, and fewer were directed by women.

Beginning later in 2016, new member’s voting rights will last 10 years and be renewed only if that member has been active in film. Members will get lifetime voting rights after three 10-year-terms, or if they’ve been nominated for an Oscar, the report revealed.

In this Jan. 14, 2016 file photo, John Krasinski, left, and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announce the Academy Awards nominations for best performance by an actor in a leading role at the 88th Academy Awards nomination ceremony in Beverly Hills, Calif. (Photo by Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File)

Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said, “The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up. These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition.”

The board made the changes in an emergency meeting Thursday night, as an undeniable response to the controversy over the Oscar nominations being so white. The Academy will also launch a new campaign aimed at increasing diversity.

Power players Jada Pinkett Smith, and honorary Oscar Winner Spike Lee have posted on social media that they will not be attending this year’s ceremony.




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Jada Pinkett Smith Expresses Gratitude to Cheryl Boone Isaacs and the Academy for “Quick Response” Amid Diversity Controversy

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Photo: Getty

Jada Pinkett Smith tweeted support to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ president Cheryl Boone Isaacs on Tuesday, January 19.

The outreach was in regards to the boycott uproar following the lack of diversity shown in this year’s nominations from the Academy. Pinkett Smith, took to Facebook on January 18 with a powerful message to the African American Community voicing her opinion stating to African Americans, “We must stand in our power.” At press time, the video had already reached 7 million views.

As a response to Pinkett Smith’s Facebook post and the growing number of others who have suggested to boycott the Oscars, the Academy’s President Cheryl Boone Isaacs responded with this message on Tuesday:

“While we celebrate [the nominees’] extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion,” she said in a statement. “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.”


Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith) posted two tweets;

In her first tweet, she posted, ” I would like to express my gratitude to the Academy, specifically Cheryl Boone Isaacs, (pt1)

In a follow-up tweet, she posted, “for such a quick response in regard to the issue at hand. I look forward to the future. (pt2)


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LA Times releases shocking new video surrounding “Oscars So White” controversy

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According to a new report from the Los Angeles Times, people of color buy about 1/2 of all movie tickets in the US, but make up only 1/4 of roles onscreen. The Academy Awards has been under fire for not acknowledging the efforts in cinema made by people of color and fans and entertainment insiders are speaking out.

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See the new video the newspaper released surrounding the “Oscars So White” controversy.

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Jada Pinkett Smith puts the Academy Awards on Blast

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Jada Pinkett Smith has voiced her opinion of the ‘Oscars so white’ feud in a very public way. The wife of Will Smith, 2016 Oscar snub nominee, released a two minute video Monday that voiced her opinion about the Academy Awards. In the video, Jaden and Willow’s mom, sat down calmly and spoke directly into a video monitor asking a question, “Is it time that people of color recognize, influence, that we have amassed that we no longer need to ask to be invited anywhere?”

The actress continues by saying, “I ask the question, have we now come to a new time and place where we recognize that we can no longer beg for the love, acknowledge or respect of any group. That maybe it’s time that we recognize that if we love and respect, and acknowledge ourselves in a way in which we are asking others to do, that [that] is the place of true power.”

Smith says she believes, “The Academy has the right to acknowledge whomever they choose. To invite whomever they choose. And, now I think that it’s our responsibility [now] to make the change. Maybe it is time that we pull back our resources and we put them back into our communities, into our programs, and we make programs for ourselves and we make programs for ourselves that acknowledge us in ways that we see fit that are just as good as the so-called mainstream.”

She went on with more powerful words. She ended by acknowledging Chris Rock, who is set to host the Oscars for a second time. In her shout out to Rock, Smith said, “Hey Chris, I will not be at the Academy Awards and I won’t be watching, but I can’t think of a better man to do the job at hand this year but you my friend, good luck.” Smith acknowledged the viewers by saying, “And to the rest of you, nothing but love, always.”


You can see the entire video here: https://www.facebook.com/jada/videos/10153983404106320/



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Acclaimed Filmmaker Spike Lee to Boycott Oscars

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Spike Lee at the premiere of his latest film, “Chi-Raq,” at the Ziegfeld Theater in New York.                                                                                                                                                                        Credit Charles Sykes/Invision, via Associated Press

Legendary Director Spike Lee will not attend the Oscars. The filmmaker is the latest in a long line of entertainment industry power houses to voice an opinion of the Academy Awards not recognizing people of color.

The outcry over African-American actors being snubbed from this year’s Oscars hopefuls has reached a breaking point, especially on social media where the hashtag, “Oscars So White” has brought more attention to the omission of black actors for the awards show.

On Monday, the director announced that he would not be attending the ceremony on Feb. 28.

Via Instagram, Lee asked how it was possible that there were no nominations for black actors for the second year running. After revealing that he nor his wife would attend the esteemed awards show, Lee added, “Dr. King said, “There comes a time when one must take a position that is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular but he must take it because conscience tells him it’s right.”

The Hollywood legend accepted an honorary Oscar in November for his collective body of work. He did offer these words in the post, “I would like to thank President Cheryl Boone Isaacs and the Board of Governors of The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences for awarding me an Honorary Oscar this past November. I am most appreciative. However my wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee and I will not be attending the Oscar ceremony this coming February. We cannot support it and mean no disrespect to my friends, host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs and The Academy.”


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Black Actors Snubbed for Oscar Nominations

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Well the nominations are in…

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The Oscar nominations for the 88th annual awards were announced Thursday morning from the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Los Angeles. Academy President Cheryl Boone, Ang Lee, Guillermo del Toro and John Krasinski took the stage to announce the directors, actors, movies, and industry hopefuls who will be competing for the prestigious gold statuette.

“The Revenant” led this year’s class of Oscar nominees with 12 nominations, including Best Director (Alejandro González Iñárritu), Best Actor (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Best Motion Picture. The next contender was the survivalist action adventure “Mad Max: Fury Road,” which earned 10 nominations, including Best Motion Picture and Best Director (George Miller). “The Martian” walked away with seven nominations, reported Bay News 9.

Onlookers were surprised, yet thrilled, to see Sylvester Stallone included in this year’s nominations for “Creed.” Although his cast mate, Michael B. Jordan and the film director, Ryan Coogler received no acknowledgement. “Straight Outta Compton” was nominated for Best Original Screenplay, but social media was quick to point out that minority talent was overlooked.

Not a single black actor was nominated for an award. Actors like Will Smith and Idris Elba, who were nominated for Golden Globes, were left off the Oscar nominees list. The internet quickly started trending for “Beasts of No Nation”, the Elba film that had been rumored to be an Oscar contender all season.

Several media outlets have predicted that #OscarsSoWhite might start trending again this year as a result of the Academy’s lack of minority participation.

Not including talented black actors has now become a trend and fans are outraged. We saw a similar situation last year when nominations were announced but excluded “Selma” director Ava DuVernay and actor David Oyelowo, who played the lead character for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

It should be noted that Reginald Hudlin will produce the 88th Oscars and Chris Rock will serve as Host. So, technically speaking, there will be some diversity.

The awards ceremony will air Feb. 28.


Below is a list of the nominees in the top categories.

Best Motion Picture

  • Big Short
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Brooklyn
  • Mad Max: Fury Road
  • The Martian
  • The Revenant
  • Room
  • Spotlight

Best Director

  • George Miller (“Mad Max Fury Road”)
  • Adam McKay (“The Big Short”)
  • Alejandro G. Iñárritu (“The Revenant”)
  • Lenny Abrahamson (“Room”)
  • Tom McCarthy (“Spotlight”)

Best Actor

  • Bryan Cranston (“Trumbo”)
  • Leonardo DiCaprio (“The Revenant”)
  • Matt Damon (“The Martian”)
  • Eddie Redmayne (“The Danish Girl”)
  • Michael Fassbender (“Steve Jobs”)

Best Actress

  • Cate Blanchett (“Carol”)
  • Brie Larson (“Room”)
  • Jennifer Lawrence (“Joy”)
  • Charlotte Rampling (“45 Years”)
  • Saoirse Ronan (“Brooklyn”)

Best Supporting Actor

  • Christian Bale (“The Big Short”)
  • Mark Ruffalo (“Spotlight”)
  • Mark Rylance (“Bridge of Spies”)
  • Sylvester Stallone (“Creed”)
  • Tom Hardy (“The Revenant”)

Best Supporting Actress

  • Jennifer Jason Leigh (“The Hateful Eight”)
  • Rachel McAdams (“Spotlight”)
  • Rooney Mara (“Carol”)
  • Alicia Vikander (“The Danish Girl”)
  • Kate Winslet (“Steve Jobs”)

Original Screenplay

  • Bridge of Spies (Matt Charman and Ethan Coen & Joel Cohen)
  • Ex Machina (Alex Garland)
  • Inside Out (Peter Docter, Meg LeFauve, Josh Cooley)
  • Spotlight (Josh Singer & Tom McCarthy)
  • Straight Outta Compton (Jonathan Herman and Andrea Berloff)

Adapted Screenplay

  • The Big Short (Charles Randolph and Adam McKay)
  • Brooklyn (Nick Hornby)
  • Carol (Phyllis Nagy)
  • The Martian (Drew Goddard)
  • Room (Emma Donoghue)

Best Animated Feature

  • Anomalisa
  • Boy and the World
  • Inside Out
  • Shaun the Sheep Movie
  • When Marnie Was There