Robert Greenwald, an independent documentary filmmaker and president of Brave New Films, praised the academy's announcement but noted that more steps toward diversity need to occur in the hiring process.
“I appreciate the academy being open and transparent. With such a deep deficit, there of course is a long way to go for the academy to look like the rest of the United States. Glad to see them taking the important initial steps. But of course the real systemic problem is in making the hiring more diverse, so that there are more and more candidates for the academy to consider. And I hope the press and others will focus on the diversity in the hiring.
“I have personal experience. Brave New Films has a fellows program ... with focus on women and men of color. First year, we had 551 applications for five spots. So the talent and desire is there. We must open up the hiring process.”
Rupert Murdoch’s sons -- James and Lachlan Murdoch -- were among 31 people invited to the academy in the executive category.
James Murdoch’s invitation comes after he was elevated last year to chief executive of 21st Century Fox, which owns the Fox movie studio. The Fox film studio is in the process of a major leadership change as the younger generation of Murdochs endeavors to put its imprint on the media company that famous father Rupert built over the last five decades. His older brother, Lachlan Murdoch, serves as executive chairman of 21st Century Fox, a title that he shares with his father. Lachlan primarily works out of Fox’s West Coast headquarters in Century City, and is getting increasingly involved in TV and movie production. James Murdoch is based at the company’s corporate headquarters in New York.
Other invitees in the executive category include: AMC Networks Chief Executive Officer Josh Sapan, longtime Sony Pictures executive Adrian Smith, Imagine Entertainment executive Erica Huggins, Fox Searchlight executive Anikah Elizabeth McLaren, Village Roadshow Pictures executive Bonni Lee and billionaire Gigi Pritzker (“Enders Game” and “The Way, Way Back”), the chief executive of Oddlot Entertainment.
One of the most exclusive clubs in the world is about to get a little bit – or perhaps more than a little bit – bigger.
On Wednesday, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is expected to announce its newest class of members, the first round of invitees to join the nearly 90-year-old organization since the #OscarsSoWhite controversy reached a crescendo at this year’s awards ceremony.
Under fire for nominating an all-white slate of actors for two years in a row, the academy vowed to double the number of women and minority members by 2020. It also adopted controversial new rules that will allow it to take away voting rights from inactive members.
A Los Angeles Times study shows just how much work the academy has to do if it intends to reflect the audience it serves — and just how aggressive the group’s new goals are.
In 2012, The Times reported that Oscar voters were 94% white and 77% male. Four years later, the academy has made scant progress: Oscar voters are 91% white and 76% male, according to a new Times study.
Four days before the 2016 Oscars, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs spoke with The Times about the academy’s ambitious goals for diversifying its membership, its controversial plan to take away voting rights from some members and her personal experience during this unusual awards season.
There are qualified people out there. Our goal is to make sure that we are active in bringing in different voices regardless of gender, race or sexual orientation.
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president