Esteemed film and television producer Will Packer took to Facebook yesterday to give his thoughts on the lack of diversity reflected in this year’s Oscar nominations.
In a lengthy and heartfelt post, the Straight Outta Compton producer congratulated all of the nominees, including the two white screenwriters of Compton, then gave something of a shoutout to a number of black actors and directors that many felt were snubbed:
“…I really want to applaud are some other actors, directors and producers who were at the top of their game this year. A list that includes, but is not limited to, Idris Elba, Michael B. Jordan, Will Smith, John Boyega, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Tessa Thompson, Audra McDonald, Adepero Oduye, Samuel L.Jackson, Oshea Jackson Jr, Jason Mitchell, Corey Hawkins, F. Gary Gray and Ryan Coogler. Yes, they made us laugh. Yes, they made us cry. Yes, they made us angry. Yes, they made us think. Yes, they are all black. No, not one was nominated for the movie industry’s highest honor.”
Packer went on to acknowledge and empathize with the trending hashtag #OscarsSoWhite before calling to action more people of color that are both already in and aspiring to be in the film industry.
“To my #OscarsSoWhite folks who are angry at the absurd lack of diversity highlighted yet again by this year’s Oscar noms. Trust me, I get it. Those of us in the industry who labor to make the best content we can are especially sensitive to a perceived systemic bias against a group of people or type of film. One thing I will say, is that The Academy’s voting record is only part of the issue. These films/performances and the scripts that drive them often go into development YEARS before they are released and thus in Oscar contention. We need more content produced by, written by, directed by and featuring filmmakers and actors of color being given the greenlight. We need them to start moving forward this year so in 2019 there are quality projects in contention! Although there were multiple performances and films that existed this year(and were overlooked), we still need more. We need those of us in the industry, and those outside trying to get in, to continue to push Hollywood to create opportunities for these films so that we have more than a handful each year.”
The 41-year-old producer also had some stern words for his fellow Academy members on their apparent white-washing and failure to acknowledge the works of non-white artists.
“To my Academy colleagues, WE HAVE TO DO BETTER. Period. The reason the rest of the world looks at us like we have no clue is because in 2016 it’s a complete embarrassment to say that the heights of cinematic achievement have only been reached by white people. I repeat—it’s embarrassing. It’s unfair to the performers of color who sacrificed so much, laid it all on the line AND DELIVERED with their projects this year. It’s also unfair to the white actors, writers, producers and directors who gave everything they had to create career defining content only to have it marred by the fact that a lack of diversity calls into question the legitimacy of The Academy’s choices.”