At the 90th annual Oscars lunch in Beverly Hills, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, John Bailey praised the industry’s reckoning after the #MeToo campaign and for tackling its “worst abuses”. He said that Hollywood is at a crossroad after the campaign which saw big names from the industry coming forward and revealing names and dirty secrets. However, protesters said diversity efforts have not gone far enough.
He said, “The fossilized bedrock of many of Hollywood’s worst abuses are being jackhammered into oblivion. Nowhere is this being made clearer than in the richness of many of this year’s nominated films. The Academy is at a crossroads of change. We are witnessing this motion picture academy reinvent itself in front of our very eyes, and a greater awareness and responsibility in balancing gender, race, ethnicity, and religion.”
Bailey, 75 was elected in August just before the Harvey Weinstein sexual abuse allegations sparked a reckoning in the entertainment industry. Speaking on the issue of diversity and representation in the film industry, he said, “There has been some progress this year with notable nominations for female-driven movies and black film-makers.”
Due to Donald Trump’s travel ban, last year’s Oscars luncheon had faced a lot of problems. Some film-makers from Muslim-majority countries, including an Iranian director nominated for the best foreign film were not allowed to come for the awards.
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the previous president, said in her speech last year, “Each and every one of us knows that there are some empty chairs in this room which have made Academy artists [into] activists. There is a struggle globally today over artistic freedom that feels more urgent than at any time since the 1950s”. According to reports in the Guardian, in the face of backlash in 2016, the Oscars vowed to double the number of women and minorities in the Academy by 2020.