Spike Lee On ‘BlacKkKlansman’ Losing Best Pic To ‘Green Book’: “Every Time Somebody Is Driving Somebody, I Lose”

Read on: Deadline.

The backstage press corps here at the Oscars had questions for Spike Lee after his reaction to Green Book winning Best Picture on Sunday night.
Asked backstage at the Dolby Theatre if his Adapted Screenplay win for BlacKkKlansman makes up for Do the Ri…

Spike Lee’s Stance on Diversity Is the Same Since #OscarsSoWhite: ‘It’s Always Going to Be Iffy’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

This story about Spike Lee first appeared in the Down to the Wire issue of TheWrap’s Oscar magazine.

This time three years ago, Spike Lee respectfully turned down an invitation to attend the Oscars after the Academy failed to nominate a single person of color across all four acting categories for the second consecutive year. Lee said both then and now that he’s constantly asked about the state of diversity in the industry, and he issued a challenge to journalists to ask the white nominees what they think of the racial disparity.

Now Lee has his own Oscar nomination for directing “BlacKkKlansman.” Remarkably, it’s his first directing nomination in a career that has included such notable films as “Do the Right Thing” and “Malcolm X,” and a career that has netted him an Honorary Oscar. (The film’s Best Picture nomination is also the first for a “Spike Lee Joint.”)

Yet Lee is still getting questions about the state of the industry, and reiterating what he said three years ago.

Also Read: Spike Lee on the New Wave of Hit-Making Black Filmmakers: ‘I Hope This Is Not a Trend’

“My answer is always this: Until there is diversity among the gatekeepers, it’s always going to be iffy,” Lee said. “The real power is behind the camera, not in front of it. These are the individuals who breathe rarefied air, who make decisions about what film we’re making, who’s going to make it, who’s going to write it. Those are the questions that ultimately decide what is going to happen.”

Lee’s nomination makes him only the sixth black director ever nominated for the prize, joining a list that includes John Singleton, Lee Daniels, Steve McQueen, Barry Jenkins and Jordan Peele. He’s quick to point out that list would not be here if not for Gordon Parks, Ossie Davis, Michael Schultz and many more who were never recognized by the Academy.

But he did note the progress made when #OscarsSoWhite first dominated the conversation, giving then-Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and the hashtag’s creator, April Reign, their due.

Also Read: Spike Lee to Host Brooklyn Block Party for ‘Do the Right Thing’ 30th Anniversary

“Cheryl has not gotten the credit she deserves for turning this whole thing around,” Lee said emphatically. “I believe it was not an easy thing to get the Academy to move forward. Nonetheless, they did, and all these black folks who have gotten Oscar nominations since then, some credit has to be given to Cheryl Boone Isaacs.”

And he thinks it will show where it matters too. In terms of his own film’s fortunes on Oscar night, he said he likes being the “dark horse in the race” because he’s always been the underdog.

“We’ll see what happens,” he said, going on to make a truly bold prediction about the broadcast itself.

“This is going to be the highest-rated Oscar show in years, guaranteed,” he said. “Even without a host! ABC will be happy about the ratings of this show. And they got their film in it, too, ‘Black Panther,’ which has made $1.3 billion. People are going to watch this Academy Awards, for sure.”

To read more of TheWrap’s Down to the Wire Oscar magazine, click here.

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Oscars Diversity Push: Academy on Target to Double Non-White Members – But Not Women

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

In January of 2016, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who was then the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, responded to the #OscarsSoWhite protests by announcing a bold goal: By 2020, she promised, the Academy would double the number of female and non-white members.

Now, almost two and a half years later, the AMPAS Board of Governors has met and selected the third group of new members since Isaacs’ initial pledge.

The board’s choices were made on Saturday but won’t be revealed until Monday or Tuesday. Meanwhile, the scorecard on Academy diversity so far is a mixed one. The Academy is way ahead of schedule on non-white members, but significantly behind on women.

Also Read: Academy Changes Rules to Promote Oscar Diversity

At the time that Isaacs pledged to double the female and non-white membership, the Academy had 6,436 active members, 6,124 of whom were eligible to vote for the Oscars. AMPAS figures revealed that the membership at that point was 75 percent male and 92 percent white, which means that the diversity pledge required them to add about 1,609 female members and 515 non-white members.

On the latter front, the Academy has essentially achieved its goal: Again using AMPAS percentages, about 280 nonwhite members were invited in 2016, and another 232 in 2017. So the organization is likely at or within single digits of its goal, making it a virtual certainty that this year’s new members will push it well past its goal of doubling the 2016 total.

(The wild card in these calculations is the number of invited members who decline to join. The Academy does not release those figures, though most of those who are invited have submitted applications for membership and would therefore have little interest in declining.)

Also Read: No Kobe, No Problem: Oscars Academy’s Class of 2018 on Track to Be as Big and Diverse as Last 2 Years’

The goal of doubling the number of women members is not so easily attained. To meet that target, the Academy would needed to add more than 1,600 women; the organization invited 315 in 2016 and 302 in 2017. That leaves them about 1,100 short, with the class of 2018 yet to be announced and the classes of 2019 and 2020 still to be chosen.

To truly double the number of female members it had at the time the challenge was announced, then, the Academy would need to average more than 365 new female members for the next three years — more than they achieved even in the last two record years for new admissions.

And while the numbers are going up dramatically, the Academy is not just adding women and people of color. With the record size of the 2016 and 2017 classes, and the fact that the 2016 Academy already had more than 5,900 whites and 4,800 men, the diversity percentages are creeping upward slowly even as the sheer numbers increase more dramatically.

Also Read: Oscars 2018 Analysis: Voters Send Clear Message on Diversity in Race and Gender

The Academy was 75 percent male and 92 percent white in 2016; two years later, after increasing its size by nearly 25 percent, it’s now 72 percent male and 87 percent white.

That’s what the branches were up against as they looked for members of the Class of 2018, and what the board faced when they voted on hundreds of prospective members on Saturday.

The Academy is making progress, and making it more quickly than many of us thought they would. But meeting the entire goal they set in 2016 has not gotten any easier.

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No Kobe, No Problem: Oscars Academy’s Class of 2018 on Track to Be as Big and Diverse as Last 2 Years’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

While one committee was deciding that Kobe Bryant shouldn’t be invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences four months after he won an Oscar for the short film “Dear Basketball,” other AMPAS committees have been trying to determine just how generous they ought to be in finding prospective new members.

And in many cases, they have been faced with a tricky decision: Stick to the written guidelines or use the nebulous escape clauses built into Academy rules to invite people who might not otherwise qualify?

Such are the pitfalls at a time when the Academy is trying hard to become less overwhelmingly white and male, by inviting hundreds of increasingly diverse new members to join the organization.

“The new attitude seems to be, ‘Let everybody f—ing in,’” said one member of a branch membership committee on Wednesday. The comment came around the same time that the Cartoon Brew website broke the news that a committee had decided not to approve the Short Films and Feature Animation Branch’s recommendation that Bryant be invited to join, on the grounds that he had not shown evidence of “a larger career” in showbiz beyond “Dear Basketball.”

Also Read: Film Academy Nixes Kobe Bryant for Membership Despite Oscar Win

As committees in the 17 Academy branches came up with lists of prospective new members over the past two months, though, members who participated in the decisions told TheWrap that the focus has been on finding lots of new members, whether or not they strictly meet the written requirements.

Each branch has its own requirements for membership. Actors, for instance, must have a minimum of three film credits in scripted theatrical films, one of which has been released in the past five years. But each branch’s rules also contain caveats that allow invitations to be extended to Oscar nominees and to those who have “achieved unique distinction, earned special merit or made an outstanding contribution.”

That last clause is being invoked more and more often, said the committee members, some of whom expect that this year’s class will be as large as the record-breaking 2016 and 2017 classes.

Also Read: Alfred Molina, Susanne Bier Elected to Motion Picture Academy’s Board of Governors

The AMPAS Board of Governors will meet on Saturday to go over the branch lists, most of which are typically approved without alteration. It’ll be a lengthy task (made easier, perhaps, by the rare step of moving the meeting from its usual Tuesday night to a weekend), and one that raises a few burning questions:

Can they possibly find as many prospective new members as they have the last two years, when they invited 683 in 2016 and 744 in 2017?

And what will this mean to the diversity goals that were set by the Academy at the height of the #OscarsSoWhite protests in 2016, when then-president Cheryl Boone Isaacs pledged to double the number of women and non-white members by 2020?

On the surface, it seems unlikely that the Academy, which has combed the globe for prospective Oscar voters for the last two years, can find another class as large as the last two. But we thought that would be the case last year, that they surely couldn’t find another 683 qualified film professionals — and they proved us wrong by topping that number by almost 100.

Also Read: Roman Polanski Threatens Academy With Legal Action Over ‘Illegal Expulsion’

And several of those who participated in the process so far this year say they expect another huge group of invitations, based on the wide net that has been cast and the willingness to invite people who in past years would not have made the cut.

(That makes the Bryant case an unusual one, and suggests that he won’t get in at least partly because of the inevitable protests that would have followed if AMPAS had admitted someone who faced sexual-assault allegations in 2003.)

When it comes to the diversity goals that Isaacs announced two and a half years ago, the Academy is way ahead of schedule on one count, but significantly behind on another.

At the time that Isaacs pledged to double the female and non-white membership, the Academy had 6,436 active members, with 6,124 of them eligible to vote for the Oscars. AMPAS figures revealed that the membership at that point was 75 percent male and 92 percent white — so if those figures are accurate, the diversity pledge required them to add about 1,609 female members and 515 non-white members.

Also Read: Oscars Academy Board Bypassed New Grievance Procedures to Expel Polanski, Cosby

On the latter front, the Academy has essentially achieved its goal: Again using AMPAS percentages, about 280 nonwhite members were invited in 2016, and another 232 in 2017. Depending on how many of those declined the invitation, a figure the Academy does not reveal, the organization is likely at or very close to its goal, making it a virtual certainty that it will have doubled the number of non-white members as soon as this year’s invitations go out.

The goal of doubling the number of women members, though, is not so easily attained. The Academy needed to add more than 1,600 women, and they invited 315 in 2016 and 302 in 2017. That leaves them about 1,100 short, with the classes of 2018, 2019 and 2020 still to go.

To truly double the number of female members it had at the time the challenge was announced, then, the Academy would need to average more than 365 new female members for the next three years, more than they achieved even in the last two record years for new admissions.

Also Read: Academy Breaks Own Record, Invites 774 New Members

And while the numbers are going up dramatically, the Academy is not just adding women and people of color. Given the record size of the last two classes, they are also adding lots more white men. Since the 2016 Academy already had more than 5,900 white members and 4,800 men, the diversity percentages can only increase slowly.

The Academy was 75 percent male and 92 percent white in 2016; two years later, after increasing its size by nearly 25 percent, it’s now 72 percent male and 87 percent white.

That’s what the branches have been up against as they looked for members of the Class of 2018, and what the board will be facing as they vote on hundreds of prospective members on Saturday.

The Academy is making progress, and making it more quickly than many of us thought they would. But it wasn’t easy in 2016 and 2017, and it’s not going to be easy in 2018.

The list of new members will be announced early next week.

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Academy President John Bailey Vows to Finish the Museum – and Get Along With Dawn Hudson

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Cinematographer John Bailey was elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences one week ago, at meeting where the AMPAS Board of Governors elected a successor to Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who served the maximum of four consecutive terms.

The first president ever elected from the Cinematographers Branch, Bailey is a 75-year-old film veteran whose movies include “Ordinary People,” “The Big Chill,” “Groundhog Day” and “Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters,” for which he won an award at Cannes. He’s a student of film and of Hollywood history, and he has also been one of the board’s most outspoken critics of Academy CEO Dawn Hudson, who has been under fire for the ballooning costs of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.

Bailey spoke to TheWrap about his relationship with Hudson, his support for the museum and his wish list as president at the end of his first week on the job.

Also Read: John Bailey Elected President of the Motion Picture Academy

What are your priorities as president?
The museum is the biggest thing on everybody’s horizon, and it’s some people’s biggest target. It’s certainly by far the biggest undertaking the Academy has ever had.

I’ve recently been reading Walter Mirisch’s great book (“I Thought We Were Making Movies, Not History”) where he talks about his tenure as Academy president. And it was during that time that the Academy knew they had to move out of their dilapidated building on Melrose, and had to find new quarters. And there was a huge back and forth — there were heated arguments on the board in terms of what to do about a new administrative building. At one point Universal Studios had offered land on the Barham side of the lot, and it precipitated a big conversation. Some of the governors said, “This is great, we should do it.” Others were purists and said, “We can’t afford to be indebted to a studio.”

They eventually ended ended up acquiring a property on Wilshire [site of the current Academy headquarters]. There was a huge amount of anxiety and fear at how expensive it was, the cost overruns, how long it was taking.

To get back to the point, that was in 1973 and ’74, and now it seems like it’s not such a big deal compared to the museum. But proportionally at the time, it was huge.
I think about that in terms of the arguments about the museum are all relative. We’re all aware that any kind of world-class architectural entity, whether it was the Disney Hall, the Pompidou in Paris, Frank Lloyd Wright’s Guggenheim Museum on Fifth Avenue in New York – those are all landmark architectural buildings, and the Academy Museum is going to be the same kind of thing. It’ll be a destination, artistically, geographically, aesthetically and cinematically.

But it’s a huge undertaking – this is Hollywood, and we do things big. And now that we’re starting to see the theater and the dome rise up above ground level, we’re starting to understand what it’s going to be. Before you could see that, people would say, “Oh, it’s stalled, nothing is happening.” But now it’s starting to be visible, which is an inspiration for the fundraising, which is accelerating.

Also Read: Why Laura Dern Wasn’t Elected Academy’s New President

But can the Academy complete the museum without assuming additional debt, which has been a real bone of contention with some members?
Like it happens with all these things, there were unexpected things that came up. You look at any of these great structures, those things happen. I do feel that since Rich Cherry has been brought on as the COO, he’s confident that things are going to go along as they should be. There may be glitches, but I think it’s coming together.

You’re known on the board for being a strong critic of [Academy CEO] Dawn Hudson. How are you going to work together?
I think we’re going to have a very smooth relationship. Dawn and I have been collaborating on a number of things over the years, especially in the last three years where I’ve been a vice president and chair of the preservation and history committee. And Dawn loves movies. It was Dawn who allowed me to move ahead with this idea I had of the “Film on Film” screening series. Dawn saw right away what those screenings could be – this kind of synergy between the archive and the museum and material in the oral history. That is a template for what some of the programming and screenings can be like in the Academy Museum.

I’m looking very forward to working with Dawn. We’ve worked together on a business level for a number of years now, but I don’t really feel like I know Dawn personally, or she knows me. So my wife Carol Littleton, who is a film editor and is also on the board, and I have asked her to come over to our home for dinner on Sunday night. And maybe we won’t talk about the Academy at all.

Also Read: Academy Votes to Renew CEO Dawn Hudson’s Contract

Your predecessors have essentially made the presidency a full-time job. You’re still a working cinematographer – do you plan to do the same thing?
I don’t know what a full-time job is. But Carol and I have talked about this. She’s now working on a movie for HBO, “My Dinner With Herve,” and I’ve made the commitment to not do a picture this next year. And that’s OK with me. I don’t need to prove anything regarding myself as a cinematographer. This is really an opportunity to become deeply engaged in something I believe in very much, the Academy and its programs. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever done in my life, and it brings a kind of excitement and energy that makes me feel reborn.

Under Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy went through the #OscarsSoWhite protests and launched a huge diversity initiative. Do you see that initiative continuing in the same way under your leadership?
I don’t know if anything ever continues in the same way. But I’m hoping we’ll find a way to make it even more responsible to the wealth of talent we can bring into the Academy.

I also believe very much in expanding our outreach to international members. One of the things that was so exciting to me was in my own branch last year, when we sent out invitations to cinematographers around the world. One in particular was Jose Luis Alcaine, who shot a lot of Pedro Almodovar’s movies. Here’s a guy who’s got over 150 credits, he’s even older than me, 79, and we issued an invitation to the Academy and he accepted. There was another Mexican cinematographer, Ernesto Pardo, who shot a very low-budget documentary called “Tempestad” mostly in a bus. This man only had 11 credits in documentaries, but the work was so extraordinary and so affirmative that we decided to issue an invitation to him. There you have two extremes.

That’s initiative, too, and that’s diversity.

Also Read: Oscars Hit Goal of Doubling Non-White Members Three Years Early

Any other passions for your tenure as president?
I have such a love for foreign films, and my own feeling is that I would like to see more foreign films in the regular members’ screenings on weekends. Right now, the only chance we get to see some of these films is if they get submitted to the Oscar foreign-language race by their home countries. And we have no say in those submissions. Here’s a chance for us to see some of those movies as regular members’ screenings.

The attendance of the weekend members’ screenings has not been particularly exciting recently – because let’s face it, many of the movies lately are ones that people haven been particular eager to see. So why can’t we include more great foreign films that might have played in Cannes?

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John Bailey Elected President of the Motion Picture Academy

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

John Bailey has been elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Academy announced on Tuesday.

The 74-year old cinematographer was chosen by a vote of the Academy’s Board of Governors, which met on Tuesday evening at the Academy’s Beverly Hills headquarters.

Other officers elected at the board meeting were Lois Burwell, first vice president; Kathleen Kennedy, Michael Tronick and Nancy Utley, vice presidents; Jim Gianopulos, treasurer; and David Rubin, secretary. Kennedy, Utley, Gianopulos and Rubin occupied the same positions last year.

Bailey will succeed Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who leaves office after serving the maximum four consecutive terms and was the face of the Academy during the #OscarsSoWhite furor and the subsequent push to broaden and diversify Academy membership.

Also Read: Academy Breaks Own Record, Invites 774 New Members

Bailey’s films include “American Gigolo,” “Ordinary People,” “The Big Chill,” “Groundhog Day,” “The Way, Way Back” and “A Walk in the Woods.” He has been a longtime representative of the Cinematographers Branch on the board, and will be the first member of that branch to serve as president.

He has never been nominated for an Oscar for his work.

He assumes the position at a time when the Academy’s diversity is still a hot-button issue, and as construction continues on the lavish Academy Museum project at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. AMPAS has been forced to borrow heavily to continue financing the museum, a rare and troubling occurrence to many members of the Academy and its board.

Bailey is also known to be a vocal critic of Academy CEO Dawn Hudson, and his election must be considered a victory for a contingent of the board that has been critical of Hudson’s leadership.

Also Read: Viggo Mortensen Will Accept Invitation to Join Academy After Saying No Before

Other governors who had expressed interest in the position – though open campaigning is frowned upon at the Academy – included documentarian Rory Kennedy and casting director David Rubin.

Numerous media accounts had actress Laura Dern as the frontrunner for the position – but according to members of the board, Dern had second thoughts about running for the job at a time when her acting career is extremely active. TheWrap has confirmed that Dern, who would have been Hudson’s preferred candidate, did not in fact run for the office.

At the meeting to elect a new president, any member of the board can be nominated for the position. This year’s election was the most wide-open going into the board meeting since Tom Sherak became a surprise choice in 2009. And judging by the time it took to announce the new president, it took far longer than usual for a candidate to reach 50 percent of the 54 votes.

Since the Academy was launched in 1927, the Actors Branch and the Writers Branch have supplied the most presidents, seven each. But over the past two decades, presidents have often come from the Public Relations and Executive Branches, as the Academy has moved away from filmmakers and actors and toward strategists and boardroom types.

The position has also become more active and time-consuming. The last few Academy presidents, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, Hawk Koch, Tom Sherak and Sid Ganis, all of whom turned what was once a part-time job at best into a full-time gig.

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In A Surprise Twist, John Bailey Named Film Academy President

Read on: Deadline.

In a surprise twist, cinematographer John Bailey became the 36th president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Tuesday night. Bailey, a 74-year-old film veteran with a long record of Academy service, had been quietly talking with insiders about the presidency for some time;  but he largely evaded public visibility, as speculation locked on the prospects of Laura Dern, an actress who is closely allied with Academy chief executive Dawn Hudson. Most recently…

As Tuesday Board Meeting Nears, The Film Academy’s Soap Opera Continues

Read on: Deadline.

When the Daytime Emmys next come around, they should save one for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; after all, AMPAS has become one of the best soap operas in town. Infighting. Executive churn. Diversity wars. Legal action. Even an Oscar for the wrong movie. Hollywood’s film academy has seen it all.
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Academy President And Oscar Producer On Bringing Back Same Team Including Jimmy Kimmel For The 90th , But Will Warren Beatty And Faye Dunaway Return Too?

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When I hopped on the phone at different times yesterday with Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs  and returning Oscar show producer (with Mike De Luca) Jennifer Todd , I told them they have set a land speed record for announcing not only the producers, but also the host Jimmy Kimmel so early in the process. Last year
news of who was going to produce didn’t come until very late, on November 4th and Jimmy Kimmel’s announcement as host…

Academy Launches Inclusive Mentorship Program ‘Academy Gold’

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is launching a new mentorship program for students and young professionals from “underrepresented communities,” AMPAS said on Wednesday, called Academy Gold.

The governing body of the Oscars has recruited top entertainment companies — including major studios Disney, Paramount, Universal, Warner Bros., 20th Century Fox and Sony —  to sponsor three interns each for the inaugural program.

Academy Gold aims to build a network of diverse talent from which “top film entertainment, technology, production services and digital media companies” can hire. It begins in June with 50 participants, 15 of whom will be working within the Academy itself, and spans eight weeks.

Also Read: Steven Spielberg Praises Cheryl Boone Isaacs: ‘None May Have Faced’ What Academy President Has

Additional companies FotoKem, FremantleMedia, HBO, IMAX, Lionsgate/Starz, Panavision, Participant Media and Technicolor.

“I am proud that the Academy is taking proactive steps in building partnerships within the entertainment industry to move the needle on talent development and inclusion,” Nancy Utley, Academy governor and president of Fox Searchlight Pictures, said in a statement.

“The Academy is in a unique position to tap into and encourage its nearly 7,000 members to become involved mentors,” said Edgar Aguirre, the Academy’s director of talent development and inclusion.

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Academy Governors Quietly Authorized Talks Toward CEO Dawn Hudson’s Renewal Last Week

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While agreeing to keep auditor PricewaterhouseCoopers in place, Oscar night fiasco notwithstanding, the governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences quietly attended to another piece of business at their meeting last week: That is, they authorized negotiations toward a new contract with chief executive Dawn Hudson.
According to people briefed on the meeting, the governors decided to begin the negotiations so that Hudson would not reach the June 1…

CinemaCon: Cheryl Boone Isaacs Receives Pioneer Award, Stresses Diversity

Read on: Variety.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs accepted the Pioneer of the Year Award at CinemaCon on Wednesday night and used her acceptance speech to stress the need for diversity in Hollywood. “We’re all stronger, our art is more alive, our industry more innovative when we are awakened to fresh perspective,” she said in a speech at Caesars Palace…. Read more »

Academy President Talks Oscar Ending “Shock” & Future Plans — SXSW

Read on: Deadline.

“It was really a wonderful night and yes, there was a little excitement at the end. It was shock, said Academy boss Cheryl Boone Issacs, while speaking on the Oscars snafu during a panel discussion at SXSW. “However, what I thought was so important was how, in a matter of minutes, you saw a humanity and a respect and a graciousness from the La La Land filmmakers and the Moonlight filmmakers in way that I thought was very special,” she expounded.  “I felt with everyone…

As The Film Academy Looks For A New President, Let The Speculation Begin

Read on: Deadline.

The best time to speculate is when it’s still too early: The possibilities are so much more tantalizing before reality sets in.
In that spirit, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is already stirring with early speculation about the likely successor to President Cheryl Boone Isaacs when her term expires in mid-summer. Boone Isaacs, a representative of the group’s public relations branch, was first elected president in 2013, and will have served four successive…

Academy President Vows ‘Moonlight’ Oscars Snafu Won’t Happen Again in Letter to Members

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

With the 89th Academy Awards in the rear view mirror, Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has penned a letter to members celebrating the successes of the ceremony — and vowing that the most famous mistake in Oscars history will never be repeated.

In the letter, obtained by TheWrap, Isaacs singled out “The professionalism of the crew and stage managers, led by Rob Paine” in particular for their handling of the chaotic final moments of the broadcast, when “La La Land” was mistakenly declared Best Picture, instead of actual winner “Moonlight.” She also reminded anyone reading the letter that the error happened because of failures on the part of accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers. Recriminations aside, Isaacs aimed to assure members the flub heard round the world was a one-time thing.

Also Read: ‘Moonlight’ Expands to 1,500-Plus Theaters After Oscars Best Picture Win

“By now, thanks to the non-stop coverage of the past few days, we all know that that wrong envelope and the problems that ensued were caused by the failure of PwC’s accountants to follow established protocols and their delay in immediately remedying the situation,” Boone said in the letter. “PwC has accepted full responsibility for the error. Rest assured changes will be implemented to ensure this never happens again.

As TheWrap reported March 1, PwC accountants Brian Cullinan and Martha Ruiz made crucial errors before the wrong film was awarded Best Picture, and “froze” once the mistake apparent. Both have been removed from future Oscars duties.

Isaacs, for her part, saw a silver lining – that what became “certainly the most dramatic” Oscars ever was also one of the most “talked about.” She also cited the “effortless” job by host Jimmy Kimmel, the show’s musical performances, and the introduction of pioneering scientist Katherine Johnson as among the highlights of the 2017 Oscars.

“These are just a few of these reasons why live television is so exciting, why hundreds of millions of people across the globe watch the Academy Awards every year and why we have so much to celebrate.”

Read the full letter below.

It’s now been a few days since what was one of the best — and certainly most dramatic and talked about — Oscar ceremonies of all time.

I am so proud of the work and effort from each and every one of you this past year leading up to our show last Sunday, and the tremendous (and often thankless) job achieved by Jennifer Todd, Michael De Luca and their entire team in producing a show that was entertaining, enlightening, and emotional, and that reminded people around the world why we love the movies.

We have so much to be proud of:

– The impeccable and efortless hosting job by Jimmy Kimmel.
— From Justin Timberlake’s electric opening number that brought everybody to their feet, Sting’s stunning tribute to James Foley, “Moana’s” sixteen-year-old sensation Auli’i Cravalho and the multi-talented Lin-Manuel Miranda, to John Legend’s soulful serenade from “La La Land.”
— The acceptence speeches that touched our hearts.
— The inspiring introduction of Katherine Johnson by the cast of “Hidden Figures.”
— The many truly emotional segments including when stars shared the stage with the legends that inspired them, and Jennifer Aniston’s heartfelt remarks about the icons we have lost along with Sara Bareilles’ beautiful tribute.
— The professionalism of the crew and stage managers, led by Rob Paine, who handled everything remarkably from the set collapsing during dress rehearsal to the rather chaotic ending of the show. By now, thanks to the non-stop coverage of the past few days, we all know that that wrong envelope and the problems that ensued were caused by the failure of PwC’s accountants to follow established protocols and their delay in immediately remedying the situation. PwC has accepted full responsibility for the error. Rest assured changes will be implemented to ensure this never happens again.
-But, most of all, we are all proud of the spirit and enthusiasm of all the presenters, including Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, and filmmakers, especially those from “Moonlight and “La La Land.” The grace and humility they demonstrated onstage, with the world watching, shows the strength of the bond that connects all the artists in our community.

These are just a few of these reasons why live television is so exciting, why hundreds of millions of people across the globe watch the Academy Awards every year and why we have so much to celebrate.

I’ve included a celebratory video that showcases a few unforgettable moments from Sunday. I hope you enjoy it and look forward to what I know will be a memorable 90th Oscars in 2018.

Cheryl

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Academy President Gives Post-Oscars Pep Talk To Members

Read on: Deadline.

Following Sunday’s Oscar award ceremony that ended with everyone’s head spinning, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs sent out an email to the members, highlighting the positives of the infamous evening while, of course, addressing the snafu heard around the world. In the email, she lauds show producers Jennifer Todd and Michael De Luca for the “tremendous (and often thankless) job” and host Jimmy Kimmel for doing an “impeccable and effortless” job as well as the stage…

Warren Beatty To Academy President: “Publicly Clarify What Happened As Soon As Possible”

Read on: Deadline.

Another day, another statement from a party involved in the Mother of All Oscar Screw-ups. Warren Beatty, who was on stage to present the Best Picture trophy when everything fell apart, today called out Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs to explain the snafu. Like now.
“Rather than for me to respond to questions from the press about the Academy ceremony,” he said in a statement to the Associated Press, “I feel it would be more appropriate for the president of the…

Warren Beatty Asks Academy President to ‘Personally Clarify’ He Isn’t to Blame for Envelope Mess

Read on: TheWrapTheWrap.

Warren Beatty, who found himself at the center of Sunday night’s Best Picture mix-up at the Academy Awards, released a statement on Tuesday asking Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs to personally explain what happened at the end of Sunday night’s show.

In the statement given to the Associated Press, Beatty said that he would not comment further on the incident and suggested that Isaacs “publicly clarify what happened as soon as possible.”

On Monday evening, the Academy released a statement apologizing to Beatty, the viewers, and the casts and crews of “La La Land” and “Moonlight” for the envelope error that led to “La La Land” accidentally and mistakenly being announced by Beatty and Faye Dunaway as Best Picture, only for the producers of the musical to discover when they got on stage that “Moonlight” was the actual winner.

Also Read: Academy’s Accountants Take the Blame for Oscars Flub

“We deeply regret the mistakes that were made during the presentation of the best picture category during last night’s Oscar ceremony,” the Academy’s statement read. “We apologize to the entire cast and crew of ‘La La Land’ and ‘Moonlight’ whose experience was profoundly altered by this error. We salute the tremendous grace they displayed under the circumstances. To all involved — including our presenters Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway, the filmmakers, and our fans watching worldwide — we apologize.”

Also Read: Columnist Blasts ‘Brain-Dead’ Warren Beatty for ‘Horrific Night’ for Actors

PwC, the accounting firm responsible for the balloting process and delivering the winners’ envelopes during the show, also released a statement on Monday with a more in-depth explanation of what went wrong.

The statement place the blame on PwC accountant Brian Cullinan, who inadvertently handed Beatty and Dunaway a duplicate envelope for the Best Actress category — which was won by “La La Land” star Emma Stone — instead of the envelope for Best Picture.

Cullinan and his PwC partner, Martha Ruiz, each brought a briefcase containing an envelope for all 24 categories to the event. Each category has two copies of the envelope so that one can easily be handed to the presenters regardless of which side of the stage they enter from.

Also Read: Steve Harvey to Warren Beatty After Epic Oscars Flub: ‘Call Me’

Just prior to the Best Picture award being presented, Cullinan had taken a picture of Emma Stone walking off the stage with her Oscar and posted it to Twitter. That picture has since been deleted. Neither the Academy nor PwC has commented on whether Cullinan’s picture played a role in issueing the wrong envelope to Beatty and Dunaway.

The Academy said Monday that it was “investigating the circumstances” and “will determine what actions are appropriate going forward.”

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Warren Beatty Wants Academy President to ‘Publicly Clarify’ Oscar Snafu

Read on: Variety.

Warren Beatty has called for Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, to “clarify what happened as soon as possible” with the miscue that led to the wrong film being recognized as best picture at Sunday’s Oscars. Apparently through with addressing the matter himself, Beatty issued a brief… Read more »