NEW YORK – The leaders of three leading national civil rights organizations announced they will request a meeting with the trustees of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and other film industry leaders. The National Urban League, the National Action Network and the National Coalition on Black Civic Participation released the following statement in response to the ongoing struggle for diversity in the Academy’s awards nominations:
Following an awards nomination process that saw the nomination of no actors of color and no women writers, the Academy of Motion Picture Sciences promised a greater push for diversity.
That was a year ago.
Therefore, it rings hollow when the Academy – for the second year in a row – promises a greater push for diversity in response to another all-white acting nomination slate.
A lack of diversity in the entertainment industry is a complex issue without a simple solution. We are well-aware the problem neither begins nor ends with awards nominations. But the overwhelmingly white, male, and older membership of the Academy dismally fails to reflect the vibrant creative filmmaking community. Award nominations translate into box-office success, and the potential for box-office success determines which projects are greenlighted.
If the Academy cannot break this vicious circle, it risks its own irrelevancy. According to the L.A. Times, the domestic and international television rights provide the academy with approximately $70 million annually. ABC, which holds the domestic rights, is expected to garner at least $80 million in advertising revenue this year. Furthermore, African-Americans attend the movies on average more often than whites, spending more than $1.1 billion annually on movie tickets.
It seems that the Academy’s board of trustees believes diversity is a problem that will resolve itself. The nominations show otherwise. We will be requesting a meeting with the Academy’s board members and other industry leaders where we will present a clear and specific blueprint for moving forward, and outline our plan to hold the Academy accountable.