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This year’s Academy Awards nominations received a wave of backlash for being too white. Dr. Todd Boyd, Ph.D of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts discusses the deep-rooted problems within the film industry.
On whether the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science is losing credibility:
It is an issue of whether or not the film industry is operating in a way that is consistent with the environment that we live in. This is not the 1940s, it’s 2016. It’s the era of the nation’s first African-American president, so I think there’s a light being pointed in Hollywood’s direction right now. It’s a critical light, and it’s necessary for the industry to take heed and to do something about this if they want to be able to continue to exist and have a positive representation in the culture at large.
On the influence of marketing in the Oscar nomination process:
The industry itself is not diverse and is not inclusive. What we need to focus on is what takes place on the front end: who runs the studio, who has the power to say “yes,” who has the ability to hire people to cast certain films. These are the sorts of things that I think are more important than, ultimately, who gets nominated or who wins the award because at the end of the day there’s always going to be arguments about somebody being excluded from the Oscars for a variety of different reasons. The bigger picture, however, is the lack of diversity and inclusiveness and the way in which this has denied people opportunities.
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