Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Whitest Oscars in a while?

Great article on the lack of diversity in this year's Oscars.

My good friend and old boss Ava DuVernay was quoted here:

Ava DuVernay is founder of the African-American Film Festival Releasing Movement -- a collective of black film festivals -- and the writer-director of the independent film "I Will Follow." DuVernay said the nominations ironically come at a time when she has jokingly been calling the Sundance Film Festival "Blackdance" because of its abundance of minority films this year.

"The Academy Awards represents what is being distributed and exhibited year-round," she said. "It's challenging when people expect to have this onslaught of diverse nominations when it hasn't been a diverse year."

DuVernay said films such as "Precious" and directors such as Bigelow are anomalies and that the nominations over the past few years have not been incredibly diverse. The atmosphere in the industry has not changed just because there are a few breakthroughs here and there, she said.

"Ultimately, if we have people that are serious about diversifying films, whether it be black films, women's films, LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) films or Latino films, they have to be building those structures year-round," DuVernay said. "Then that becomes a conversation where there were these amazing black films, Latino films, LGBT films and films made and directed by women that were ignored."

Angry Asian Man was also quoted...good for him!

Phil Yu, who runs the blog "Angry Asian Man," said he "follows the Oscars like sports fans follow the Super Bowl."

Yu said that because there are really no proven, bankable Asian actors he has little expectation of roles that might attract the academy going to Asian actors. He said this year he was also not surprised by the decided overall lack of diversity because there was no early buzz about any actors of color as potential nominees.

"Movies are a business," Yu said. "Consequently studios are as risk-adverse as it gets, and they want to go with something tried and true."

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