Tag: #OscarsSoWhite

Michael B. Jordan Teams With Warner Bros. to Launch Diversity and Inclusion Policy for All Future WarnerMedia Productions

Michael B. Jordan will star in “Just Mercy.” (Carolyn Cole / Los Angeles Times)

WarnerMedia, the parent company of Hollywood studio Warner Bros., announced Wednesday a company-wide policy aimed at increasing diversity and inclusion in front of and behind the camera. The initiative, established in partnership with actor Michael B. Jordan, is to apply to all productions going forward, beginning with Jordan’s “Just Mercy.”

“The WarnerMedia family has introduced an approach that accomplishes our shared objectives, and I applaud them for taking this enormous step forward,” Jordan said in a statement. “I’m proud that our film, ‘Just Mercy,’ will be the first to formally represent the future we have been working toward, together. This is a legacy-bearing moment.”

Since April Reign and #OscarsSoWhite took over headlines beginning in 2014, the entertainment industry has openly grappled with calls for more accurate and representative portrayals of more communities.

But it was, for many, Frances McDormand’s fiery speech at the 2018 Academy Awards ceremony (she won an Oscar for her lead role in “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”) highlighting the concept of inclusion riders that drove some people to action.

(First coined by Stacy Smith, director of USC’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative, an inclusion rider is a provision that can be placed in stars’ contracts to mandate equity in casting and beyond.)

“Inclusivity has always been a no-brainer for me, especially as a black man in this business,” Jordan said. “[But] it wasn’t until Frances McDormand spoke the two words that set the industry on fire — inclusion rider — that I realized we could standardize this practice. It allowed me to formally pledge my production company, Outlier Society, to a way of doing business.”

WarnerMedia’s policy, which will also apply to HBO and Turner, focuses on having women, people of color, members of LGBTQ communities, folks with disabilities and other underrepresented groups in greater numbers in front of and behind the camera.

Along with the help of his agent, Phillip Sun at WME, Jordan worked with WarnerMedia to launch the policy with “Just Mercy.” Jordan is also an executive producer on the film, which is set to begin production in Atlanta this week.

“I’m proud that Warner Bros., and our sister companies HBO and Turner, are willing to state unequivocally that this is where we stand on diversity and inclusion,” Kevin Tsujihara, Warner Bros.’ chairman and CEO, said in a statement.

“Our policy commits us to taking concrete action to further our goals, to measure the outcomes and to share the results publicly,” he added. “I’m also thrilled that we were able to work with Michael B. Jordan to craft a meaningful policy and framework that will apply to all of our productions, across all of our divisions, going forward.”

Though the policy as written does not include specifics, the company does commit to “in the early stages of the production process, [engaging] with our writers, producers and directors to create a plan for implementing this commitment to diversity and inclusion on our projects, with the goal of providing opportunities for individuals from under-represented groups at all levels.”

“And, we will issue an annual report on our progress,” it said.

“Just Mercy” is a legal drama about a gifted young lawyer’s defense of the most vulnerable in this country and his fight for equal justice in a flawed legal system. It’s based on the book Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption” by Bryan Stevenson.

Source: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-et-mn-warner-bros-michael-b-jordan-20180905-story.html

“Moonlight”, “People Vs. OJ Simpson”, “Atlanta”, Ruth Negga, Octavia Spencer, Pharrell, Issa Rae and Many More Receive 2017 Golden Globe Nominations

(photo via madamenoire.com)
2017 Golden Globe nominees (l-r) Issa Rae, Naomie Harris, Kerry Washington, Thandie Newton, Tracee Ellis Ross and Viola Davis (photo via madamenoire.com)

article by Lori Lakin Hutcherson

It seems as if last year’s #OscarsSoWhite backlash has had a marked effect on this year’s pool of projects and talent considered and honored as the 2017 awards season gets underway.

The 2017 Golden Globe nominations were announced this morning, and nominees of color were found in the majority of film and television categories.  Indie film sensation “Moonlight” not only garnered a nod for Best Motion Picture, Drama, but also for directing and screenwriting by Barry Jenkins, in the Best Actress category for Naomie Harris, and Mahershala Ali was recognized in the supporting actor category.

Denzel Washington and Viola Davis were honored for their performances in “Fences”Ruth Negga was nominated for her leading role in “Loving,” and Oscar winner Octavia Spencer grabbed a nomination for her supporting role in the upcoming space race drama “Hidden Figures.”  Additionally, Pharrell Williams is in the running for Best Original Score — Motion Picture, for his work on the music for “Hidden Figures.”

2017 Golden Globe nominees Donald Glover, Pharrell and Riz (photo via billboard.com)
2017 Golden Globe nominees Donald Glover, Pharrell and Riz (photo via billboard.com)

On the television side, Donald Glover‘s “Atlanta” received nods in two categories; Best Television Series – Musical or Comedy and Best Performance by an Actor in a Television Series – Musical or Comedy.  Anthony Anderson provides some competition for Glover in the acting category, and “Black-ish” is nominated for Best Comedy Television Series as well.  Tracee Ellis Ross gained a nod in the Lead Comedy Actress category, as did “Insecure” star Issa Rae.

In limited series, actress Thandie Newton was nominated for Westworld, and Kerry Washington‘s portrayal of Anita Hill in “Confirmation” was also acknowledged.  Emmy winner Courtney B. Vance gained a nod for his work as Johnny Cochran in The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story”  and the series was nominated in the Best Television Limited Series or Motion Picture Made for Television category alongside Academy Award-winning writer John Ridley’s “American Crime.”

Below is a list of all the nominees:
Continue reading ““Moonlight”, “People Vs. OJ Simpson”, “Atlanta”, Ruth Negga, Octavia Spencer, Pharrell, Issa Rae and Many More Receive 2017 Golden Globe Nominations”

Denzel Washington and Director Antoine Fuqua’s Remake of ‘The Magnificent Seven’ Hits Box-Office Bullseye With $35 Million Debut

Magnificent Seven
Denzel Washington in “Magnificent Seven” (COURTESY OF MGM)

article by Brent Lang via Variety.com

Denzel Washington hits the bullseye again. “The Magnificent Seven,” the Oscar-winner’s first Western, topped the box office this weekend, picking up a solid $35 million.

Hollywood’s star system has shriveled in the past decade, with few new talents emerging to reanimate the ranks and stand alongside Leo and Julia and Johnny and George and Brad. Some of those stars have dimmed as the years tick by, but Washington’s still shines brightly.  “He’s one of the last great action heroes,” said Jeff Bock, an analyst with Exhibitor Relations. “He’s so believable in those roles and he has a ferocity that works cinematically.”

Indeed, Washington hasn’t had a film open to less than $20 million since 2007’s “The Great Debaters,” a remarkable display of consistency. He’ll be back on screens at the end of the year in “Fences,” an adaptation of August Wilson’s play, that he directs and stars in alongside Viola Davis. It is expected to be an Oscar contender.

“The Magnificent Seven” easily snagged the crown from “Sully,” the retelling of the “Miracle on the Hudson” landing that topped the box office for two weeks. The drama slid to third place with $13.8 million, bringing its stateside total to a healthy $92.4 million. Like “The Magnificent Seven,” it is benefiting from the popularity of a veteran movie star. In this case, Tom Hanks, who plays the hero pilot.

“The Magnificent Seven’s” success is welcome news for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which was body checked this summer after “Ben-Hur,” its $100 million-plus Biblical epic, collapsed at the box office, resulting in at least $70 million in losses for the studio and its production co-financiers. Earlier this month, MGM reduced its annual profit projections by roughly $50 million because of “Ben-Hur’s” failure.

But “The Magnificent Seven” counts as a win for the company. It also proves the viability of remaking older films, provided there is some novel spin to apply. In this case, Washington and director Antoine Fuqua were able to stage balletic shootouts that rivaled those in John Sturges’ original 1960 film. They also played up the diversity of their cast, rounding out the band of mercenaries with South Korean actor Byung-hun Lee, Mexican actor Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, and Native American actor Martin Sensmeier. That multi-cultural aspect seemed to resonate in a post-#OscarsSoWhite era, and at a time when Hollywood blockbusters are faulted for offering few roles to people of color.

Sony Pictures distributed “The Magnificent Seven” and teamed with MGM, LStar Capital, and Village Roadshow to finance the $90 million production. “It’s a fun film that’s going to be around for awhile,” said Rory Bruer, Sony’s distribution chief. “Antoine Fuqua delivered an action-packed visceral ride with a great ensemble cast.”

To read full article, go to: http://variety.com/2016/film/news/denzel-washington-magnificent-seven-1201869863/

Idris Elba, Vivica A. Fox, Ice Cube Among 683 Invited to Join Movie Academy — the Largest, Most Diverse Class Ever

One of the most exclusive clubs in the world just got a whole lot bigger.

In the latest and most dramatic step by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) to diversify the overwhelmingly white and male institution, 683 industry professionals were invited Wednesday to join the nearly 90-year-old organization.

The group of invitees, which included Idris Elba, Brie Larson, John Boyega, America Ferrera, Michael B. Jordan and Chadwick Boseman, was touted as the academy’s largest and most diverse new class ever, more than double the 322 members invited last year.

The academy’s expansion is part of a diversity push that took on heightened urgency this year in the #OscarsSoWhite uproar, which reached a fever pitch in the run-up to this year’s awards telecast.

In January, facing blistering criticism over the lack of nominations for any actors of color for the second year in a row, academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced sweeping changes aimed at doubling the number of women and minorities — then about 1,500 and 535, respectively — in the academy’s ranks by 2020. “The academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” Boone Isaacs said in a statement announcing the new initiative.

In an interview following Wednesday’s announcement, Boone Isaacs said that the large and diverse class is the result a concerted campaign to show that the academy is opening its arms to groups that have been underrepresented.

“What we found is that, as much we tried to get the information out there, it wasn’t penetrating in a way that we wanted it to,” Boone Isaacs said. “So we’ve asked all our members to be the ambassadors and pay attention to men and women who have particular skill levels in their area of expertise and get them encouraged and tell us their names so that we can make sure and reach out and connect.”

According to the academy’s figures, the new class is 46% female, bringing the representation of women in the organization from 25% to 27%. Forty-one percent of the invitees are people of color, bringing minorities’ share of total academy membership from 8% to 11%.

Other  names on the list include actors Emma Watson, Tina Fey, Oscar Isaac, Tom Hiddleston and Ice Cube and directors Ryan Coogler, Julie Dash, Adam McKay and Patty Jenkins.

To read more, go to: http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/envelope/la-et-mn-new-academy-members-20160629-snap-story.html

Russell Simmons Announces All Def Movie Awards

Russell Simmons
Russell Simmons (photo via eurweb.com)

article by Ny MaGee via eurweb.com

Def Jam co-founder Russell Simmons has announced that he’s launching his own movie awards show in response to #OscarsSoWhite, which is set to debut just four days before the Academy Awards.

As the A.V. Club reports, Simmons’ All Def Movie Awards “will see “Beasts of No Nation,” “Chi-Raq,” “Concussion,” “Creed,” “Dope,” and “Straight Outta Compton” compete for the best picture award.” Other awards will honor Best Actor, Best Actress and Best Director, as well as Best Bad Muh F**ka, Best Helpful White Person and Best Black Survivor in a Movie.

The awards will be recognized by members of the All Def Academy, and members of the public can vote online for two categories – Best Picture and Most Quoted Movie – through midnight on Feb. 23 by clicking here.

“The All Def Movie Awards are not the Black Oscars,” Simmons said in a statement, “But they could be. This will be a fun, entertaining and hopefully thought-provoking celebration of the uncelebrated.”

The ceremony is set for February 24 in Hollywood at the Mann’s Chinese theater. Tony Rock, (Chris Rock’s younger brother), will host the event, which will feature a Black Carpet for celebrity presenters, arrivals and VIP guests.

“If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself,” said Rock. “With that in mind I have teamed up — I guess I didn’t do it myself — with ADD to bring you the ‘all inclusive’ All Def Movie Awards. We’ll honor the entire movie-making process. Great acting, mediocre acting as well as horrible acting. Soundtracks. Wardrobes. Maybe even craft services — the best part of the set. This is the award show Hollywood has been waiting for.”

The All Def Movie Awards will be programmed as part of All Def Comedy Live, and admission to the show is by invitation only, with a select number of seats on reserved for fans by lottery.

“I don’t expect a 90 year-old Academy member to see ‘Straight Outta Compton’ or vote for it. I’m more concerned that in 2016 there continues to be a stunning lack of diversity in the studios, in the green light process, in the decisions of what films and television series get made, and what actors get chosen. This needs to be addressed institutionally,” said Russell Simmons.

According to The Wrap, the All Def Movie Awards will also feature a special live musical performance and a steady stream of “video content before, during and after the show on all of ADD’s social channels, including Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and Periscope.”

Read more at http://www.eurweb.com/2016/02/russell-simmons-announces-def-movie-awards/#feSMvh5rzfEkCzBY.99

Amid #OscarsSoWhite Backlash, the Academy Announces Plans To Double Minority Membership By 2020

Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs (photo via hellobeautiful.com)
Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs (photo via hellobeautiful.com)

In a unanimous vote Thursday night, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences‘ 51-member board of governors approved a sweeping series of changes designed to diversify its membership, the academy said in a statement Friday.

The board committed to doubling the number of women and minority members in the academy by 2020.

AMPAS President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced the plan Friday after many of Hollywood’s A-listers slammed the organization for their all-white award nominees.  “The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” she said in a statement.

The board approved reforms late Thursday to “begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition,” Isaacs explained.

It also approved a series of changes limiting members’ lifetime voting rights. “Beginning later this year, each new member’s voting status will last 10 years, and will be renewed if that new member has been active in motion pictures during that decade,” the academy statement said. “In addition, members will receive lifetime voting rights after three 10-year terms; or if they have won or been nominated for an Academy Award. We will apply these same standards retroactively to current members. In other words, if a current member has not been active in the last 10 years they can still qualify by meeting the other criteria. Those who do not qualify for active status will be moved to emeritus status. Emeritus members do not pay dues but enjoy all the privileges of membership, except voting. This will not affect voting for this year’s Oscars. ”

The swift and drastic change comes in response to a protest over an all-white slate of acting nominees for the second year in a row.

The move follows pledges by director Spike Lee and actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith to stay home from the Oscar telecast on Feb. 28, and calls for a boycott of the show online.

For the last three years, the awards body has been in the midst of a push for more diversity, inviting larger and demographically broader groups to join its 6,261 voting members. But given the size of the academy, and the fact that members belong for life, any change to the organization’s overall demographics had been incremental.

The academy will also launch a campaign to identify and recruit new members who represent greater diversity, the statement said, and will add new members who are not governors to its executive and board committees to influence key decisions about membership.

article by Rebecca Keegan via latimes.com; additions from Keyaira Kelly via hellobeautiful.com

Idris Elba Delivers Speech to UK Parliament on Lack of Opportunities for Black British Talent (VIDEO)

Idris Elba
Idris Elba (Jessica Lea/DFID)

Just as #OscarsSoWhite has become a cause cé·lè·bre here in the USA primarily, across the pond, in the UK, the picture for actors and directors of color isn’t exactly rosy either. By now, I think we’re all familiar with the struggles of black talents in the UK, with the likes of Lenny Henry, Adrian Lester, Sophie Okonedo, David Oyelowo, and others vocalizing their frustrations with the lack of opportunity for black actors in the UK, and their having to go elsewhere (the USA specifically) to find work – a “trend” that many on this side of the pond frown upon, arguing that it effectively means that there’s even more competition for a limited number of opportunities.

Now “Luther” star Idris Elba is also speaking out, although he’s taken his protest (if you will) all the way to the UK parliament, where he formally spoke to the members Monday, on the lack of diversity across British television, and its effects on talented black Brits like himself who are essentially forgotten. In his speech, he accuses the industry’s executives of not living in the real world. He argued that British television is at risk of not properly reflecting society, emphasizing that black actors in the UK are struggling to progress, especially when compared to black actors in the USA.

“People in the TV world often aren’t the same as people in the real world. And there’s an even bigger gap between people who make TV, and people who watch TV. I should know, I live in the TV world. And although there’s a lot of reality TV, TV hasn’t caught up with reality,” Elba said, adding: “Change is coming, but it’s taking its sweet time.”

Watch some of his speech below (to read the full speech, Channel 4 transcribed it in its entirety here):

article by Tambay A. Benson via blogs.indiewire.com