With this year's Oscars tackling Hollywood's lack of diversity head on, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, took the stage to state how important diversity is in Hollywood. With this year's ceremony as a jumping off point, she called on everyone in the industry to take steps to make way for more inclusive filmmaking going forward.
"Our audiences are global and rich in diversity," she said, "and every facet of our industry should be as well." Boone Isaacs' speech comes as only the latest from the Academy after it faced heavy criticism for the overwhelmingly whitewashed nominee field. After the nominees were announced last month, she came forward saying she was "heartbroken and frustrated" by the lack of people of color at the awards.
"Our audiences are global and rich in diversity, and every facet of our industry should be as well."
Since then, the Academy has promised big changes. The biggest so far is that it plans on doubling the number of diverse members in its voting body by 2020. What's more, it plans on overhauling its governance structure, ensuring that voting members are still active in the industry. Those changes have led to a backlash from some academy members for having their voting privileges revoked. Fame composer William Goldstein told CBS News that the Academy was "capitulating to political correctness." Former Academy members were in the audience tonight, and likely grumbled at the continued devotion to diversity.
Boone Isaacs seems aware that it's not enough that the Academy change its practices internally, saying "Inclusion makes us all stronger." The entire industry must respond to the criticism by encouraging writers, actors, producers, and directors from all backgrounds to join their ranks. Industry titans like Ryan Murphy have already taken steps to achieve that, but it will likely take the rest of Hollywood some time to get with the program.
"It's not enough to just listen and agree," she said. "We must take action."