Who should the film academy add to address its diversity problem? Here are 12 picks from our readers
By Tre'vell Anderson
Jun 08, 2016 | 6:04 PM
Hollywood has a tendency to overlook and ignore a number of people in the quest for box-office dollars and cinematic masterpieces. As evidenced by the #OscarsSoWhite dust-up, those people are often women, people of color and LGBT folk. In response, The Times published a list of 100 people in Hollywood who could help fix the film academy's diversity problem. This list, of actors, directors, cinematographers, everything, is composed of people we believe the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences should be paying attention to, people who meet its requirements, are of diverse backgrounds and deserve such coveted recognition.
Knowing that we too might have overlooked people and that there were hundreds more who could've made our list, we asked readers to submit their suggestions for academy membership. While many submissions included people who are already constituents -- such as directors Carl Franklin and Ava DuVernay or actresses Marlee Matlin and Shohreh Aghdashloo -- others are perfect examples of people of diverse backgrounds the academy, and broader Hollywood, should be paying attention to. Here are 12 of the readers’ suggestions:
Though known as a director of 2011’s “Hide Away” and a number of episodes of “Friday Night Lights” and “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” Eyre has assisted in the production of documentaries on the Native American experience. “The Seventh Fire,” on which he was an executive producer, was a favorite on the festival circuit.
Rogers is a relatively new producer of documentary films, but in just a few short years, she’s ushered important, untold stories to the screen. Her 2013 film “20 Feet From Stardom” won the Oscar for documentary feature. Her other projects include “The Tillman Story” and “The Music of Strangers.”
Munn is a fan favorite for notable roles in pictures including “X-Men: Apocalypse,” “Ride Along 2” and “Mortdecai.” Most, however, might remember her for a recurring role in television's “The Newsroom.”
As the creator, executive producer and lead writer of her self-titled Fox television show now on Hulu, “The Mindy Project,” Kaling is a leading diverse face on both sides of the camera. But her film work is also fairly extensive with roles in “The Night Before,” “Inside Out” and “The Five-Year Engagement.”
Najera is known nationwide as an advocate for more diverse representations of people in front of and behind the camera. A former writer of the sketch comedy television series “In Living Color” and “MadTV,” he currently pens Hulu’s “East Los High.” His movies include 2008’s “Nothing Like the Holidays” and the forthcoming “Taco Shop,” starring Tyler Posey and Paula Jai Parker. Najera also oversees the CBS Diversity Sketch Comedy Showcase.
Once nominated by France’s César Awards as the most promising actor for his role in “La Haine,” Taghmaoui’s experience spans both French and American entertainment. His filmography includes “American Hustle,” “G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra” and television series “Touch,” “Lost” and “The Missing.”
A former beauty queen, Sánchez’s acting credits are far reaching and as early as 1992’s “Captain Ron.” In addition to her latest role, on television's “Devious Maids,” she has appeared in “Rush Hour 2,” “Boat Trip,” “The Game Plan” and “Act of Valor.”
Predominantly experienced in Hindi cinema, Kahn comes well received by critics worldwide. He has well over 100 hundred, and counting, credits to his name spanning India, Britain and Hollywood. American audiences may know him best from “Jurassic World,” “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Life of Pi.”
With a particular vision leaning toward Native American people, all of Harjo’s films have been well received by audiences and critics on the festival circuits. His films include the features “Mekko,” “Barking Water” and “Four Sheets to the Wind” and the doc “This May Be the Last Time.”
Fans of Maggie Q remember the actress from her recurring role in the the “Divergent” series of films, “Divergent,” “Insurgent” and “Allegiant.” It was her lead role on The CW’s “Nikita,” however, that gave her more widespread recognition. She was also in “Mission: Impossible III,” “Live Free or Die Hard” and “The Warrior and the Wolf.”
Nominated for a Golden Globe in 2008 for his performance in the miniseries “Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee,” Beach has jumped between film and television since the start of his career in 1990. His latest project is the forthcoming “Suicide Squad,” opening in August, in which he will play Slipknot.
As one-fourth of Igloolik Isuma Productions, Kunuk and his production company focus on supporting and promoting Canada's indigenous community through media. He’s directed the documentary films “Inuit Cree Reconciliation,” “The National Parks Project” and “Inuit Knowledge and Climate Change” as well as the feature “Atanarjuat: The Fast Runner.” His 2006 feature “The Journals of Knud Rasmussen” won him the best director award at the American Indian Film Festival that year.