Oscar 2014: Civil Rights ColorOfChange.Org Calls for Diversity

The Hollywood Reporter notes:

The Civil rights group ColorOfChange.org is using Oscars weekend to draw attention to the lack of diversity within the ranks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

As is known, this year’s 20 acting nominees (in the four categories) are all white.

There has been criticism that Selma director Ava DuVernay, an African-American woman, was not nominated in the directing category.

The Academy does not share a breakdown of its membership, but a 2012 Los Angeles Times report revealed that of the nearly 6,000 members:

94 percent of the members are all white

77 percent are male (23 percent, or one fourthm are female)

86 percent are 50 years or older.

“They have never been transparent about diversity. Either diversity matters to them or it doesn’t,” ColorOfChange executive director Rashad Robinson told The Hollywood Reporter.  “If it matters to them, they need to be transparent. The Academy is such a powerful force in our culture. It validates so much.”

The Academy did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the organization’s first black president, has previously said that she was “committed to seeking out diversity of voice and opinion.”

During awards season, the Academy came under fire from Selma star David Oyelowo, who said the Oscars favor black actors “when we are subservient.”

Tweeting out a photo of himself with the Oscar nominees at the annual nominees luncheon, Oscars host Neil Patrick Harris joked, “They all look so white! #toosoon.”

Robinson says that by revealing its diversity information, the Academy would be taking a step toward fixing the problem.  The next step would be to meet with groups and experts who could help the Academy increase diversity within its ranks.

“The Academy is private about its diversity, but they have one of the most watched televised events in the world. They are public about everything else,” says Robinson.