boycotting the oscars for the "right" reasons

IT’S ACADEMY AWARDS TIME AGAIN, and the 2016 Awards will be the 88th time that some sort of cer­e­mony has taken place to rec­og­nize the "best" of Hol­ly­wood. There is al­ready mu­cho brouhaha sur­round­ing this year’s nom­i­na­tions, as this is the sec­ond year in a row that all the act­ing nom­i­nees were for white folk. Out­rage was im­me­di­ate fol­low­ing that an­nounce­ment with the hash­tag #Os­carsSoWhite and boy­cotting the Os­cars trend­ing on Twit­ter.

If the mem­ber­ship of the Acad­emy vot­ers was rep­re­sen­ta­tional of the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion, would we be hav­ing this con­ver­sa­tion right now?

Jada Pin­kett Smith was the first ma­jor voice to call for ac­tion via Twit­ter: “At the Os­cars, peo­ple of color are al­ways wel­comed to give out awards, even en­ter­tain, but we are rarely rec­og­nized for our artis­tic ac­com­plish­ments. Should peo­ple of color re­frain from par­tic­i­pat­ing all to­gether?”

This set off a brush­fire.

Sev­eral play­ers have lev­eled ac­cu­sa­tions of in­sti­tu­tional or sys­temic racism against the Acad­emy and will be boy­cotting the cer­e­monies.

But I am not ad­dress­ing those ac­cu­sa­tions here. I am ad­dress­ing some­one who ad­dressed those ac­cu­sa­tions, and I will bring up some num­bers that should in­ter­est you what­ever your own opin­ion on this mat­ter.

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Oscar_Forest

For­est Whitaker has been a fave since his mar­velous turns in Good Morn­ing, Viet­nam (1987) and Bird (1988). The photo here is from Ghost Dog – The Way of the Samu­rai, a 1999 film writ­ten and di­rected by Jim Jar­musch. Whitaker plays a Mafia hit­man who tries to ad­here to the code of the samu­rai as he car­ries out his or­ders.

You take the lowbrow and I’ll take the high

Tak­ing the lead and speak­ing for those of us whose aes­thetic eye­brows are above sea-level — mean­ing we would like to think that we fo­cus on Best Cin­e­matog­ra­pher, Best Doc­u­men­tary, Best Screen­play, etcetera — I ac­knowl­edge that most of the sex ap­peal of Os­car Night is within four cat­e­gories, and they’re all about the ac­tors and ac­tresses. 1 

Now ex­cept for the Base­ball Hall of Fame, I don’t usu­ally fol­low these award things. With the Os­cars, I find that the films and cre­ators nom­i­nated and se­lected each year by the Academy’s re­view­ers are a rea­son­able com­bi­na­tion of the year’s “best” films (al­ways sub­jec­tive) with the year’s most com­mer­cially suc­cess­ful. 2


I think the black ac­tors have a point about cul­tural bias among the mostly white Acad­emy vot­ers beget­ting what can ap­pear to be racism.


Through the years, the nom­i­na­tors and vot­ers may not have al­ways made the best choices — es­pe­cially given hind­sight — but they have al­most  al­ways made good choices! 3

A walk through the list of nom­i­nees over the past few decades should not em­bar­rass most movie buffs — if rep­re­sen­ta­tional choices are what you are look­ing for. 4

In fact, if you were stranded on Hy­po­thet­i­cal Desert Is­land, and for en­ter­tain­ment you had a DVD of every movie that made the Top 5 nom­i­na­tions for Best Pic­ture (if that was pos­si­ble), you would have a hel­luva fine rep­re­sen­ta­tion (al­most 500 movies) of the his­tory of Hol­ly­wood movie-making since the in­cep­tion of the Awards.

When friends drop by, you could en­ter­tain them end­lessly with movies they had never seen! (Nat­u­rally, they would have to bring the beer and pop­corn.)

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Boycotting The Oscars: photo of actor Morgan Freeman on the set of 10 ITEMS OF LESS.

Mor­gan Free­man is a house­hold word and every movie­goer has seen him in so many movies that we ac­tu­ally lose count! But one that sticks in my head is his role in the in­die 10 Items Or Less, in which Free­man plays him­self dri­ving around LA with a cashier talk­ing about life and things — a sorta light­weight My Din­ner With An­dre. You have to see the movie. 

Boycotting The Oscars?

Ear­lier to­day I re­ceived my In­de­pen­dent Jour­nal newslet­ter and it fea­tured an ar­ti­cle tak­ing to task those brouhaha-ers stir­ring up the lack-of-racial-diversity ac­cu­sa­tions. Here is the en­tire text of “If Any­one Tells You the Os­cars Are ‘Too White,’ Have Them Take a Look at This List” by Conor Swan­berg:

The 88th An­nual Acad­emy Awards haven’t even hap­pened yet, and there is a whirl­wind of drama sur­round­ing Hollywood’s most star-studded night. Celebri­ties like Spike Lee and Will and Jada Pin­kett Smith have called for a boy­cott due to a lack of "mi­nor­ity" nom­i­nees.

So what have the past fif­teen years looked like in terms of "mi­nor­ity" win­ners? Take a look at this list of Black, Latino, and Asian win­ners of the Acad­emy Awards since 2000.”

Please note that I added the em­pha­sis on Black, Latino, and Asian win­ners.

Mr Swan­berg then lists the "mi­nor­ity" win­ners in twenty cat­e­gories over the past fif­teen years. Here are the Big 4 cat­e­gories and the "mi­nor­ity" win­ners in each:

Best Ac­tor in a Lead­ing Role
Den­zel Wash­ing­ton, Train­ing Day (2001)
Jamie Foxx, Ray (2004)
For­est Whitaker, The Last King Of Scot­land (2006)

Best Ac­tress in a Lead­ing Role
Halle Berry, Monster’s Ball (2001)

Best Ac­tor in a Sup­port­ing Role
Mor­gan Free­man, Mil­lion Dol­lar Baby (2004)
Beni­cio del Toro, Traf­fic (2001)

Best Ac­tress in a Sup­port­ing Role
Jen­nifer Hud­son, Dream­girls (2006)
Mo’Nique, Pre­cious (2009)
Oc­tavia Spencer, The Help (2011)
Lupita Nyong’o, 12 Years A Slave (2013)

Since 2000, there have been fif­teen Acad­emy Awards cer­e­monies. Fif­teen times the four big cat­e­gories is sixty, oui?

Amer­i­cans of "mi­nor­ity" de­scent (pri­mar­ily black, Latino, and Asian) make up ap­prox­i­mately 37% of the le­gal US pop­u­la­tion — and that per­cent­age is grow­ing.

For this ar­ti­cle of mine ("Boy­cotting The Os­cars For The 'Right' Rea­sons"), I will use a con­ser­v­a­tive 35% for a fair and bal­anced view of our "mi­nor­ity" broth­ers and sis­ters. If I as­sume that there is an equal per­cent­age of "mi­nor­ity" ac­tors and ac­tresses avail­able for Hol­ly­wood roles, then the Best Ac­tor, Best Ac­tress, Best Sup­port­ing Ac­tor, and Best Sup­port­ing Ac­tress Awards (the Big 4 of the Awards) should have gone to "mi­nor­ity" ac­tors and ac­tresses at least twenty-one (21) times.

In fact, they won ten (10) times. That’s a HUGE sta­tis­ti­cal dis­crep­ancy in fa­vor of the brouha­haers.

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Boycotting The Oscars: photo of Whoopi Goldberg in THE COLOR PURPLE.

Here’s an Os­car sit­u­a­tion that I never un­der­stood: in The Color Pur­ple (1983), di­rec­tor Steve Spiel­berg took co­me­dian Whoopi Gold­berg and in her first movie role as­sisted her to a nom­i­na­tion as Best Ac­tress in a Lead­ing Role. He took tele­vi­sion host Oprah Win­frey and in her first movie role as­sisted her to a nom­i­na­tion as Best Ac­tress in a Sup­port­ing Role. He took singer Mar­garet Av­ery, who’d ap­peared in sev­eral ear­lier movies in mi­nor roles, and in her first ma­jor movie role as­sisted her to a nom­i­na­tion as Best Ac­tress in a Sup­port­ing Role. And for this re­mark­able achieve­ment he wasn’t even nom­i­nated as Best Di­rec­tor! 5

10.8% of speaking characters are black

I know enough not to make as­sume equal rep­re­sen­ta­tion in Hol­ly­wood. In a sur­vey of one-hundred top-grossing films of 2012, speak­ing roles went to fol­low­ing eth­nic­i­ties: 6

Black ac­tors and ac­tresses                                            10.8%

His­panic ac­tors and ac­tresses                                        4.2%

Asian ac­tors and ac­tresses                                               5.0%

Mixed race ac­tors and ac­tresses                                     3.6%

That is, less than 24% of "mi­nori­ties" get speak­ing parts in Hol­ly­wood movies, which is con­sid­er­ably lower than my al­ready low 35%! 7

Still, us­ing that lower num­ber (23.6%), "mi­nor­ity" ac­tors and ac­tresses should have won the Big 4 Awards four­teen (14) times.

In fact, they won ten (10) times. That’s not a big enough sta­tis­ti­cal dis­crep­ancy to work in fa­vor of the brouha­haers.

And that, my friends, is all the time and re­search that I am putting into this ar­ti­cle. I ac­knowl­edge that my math here and use of sta­tis­tics is ba­sic and sim­plis­tic, but it’s ac­cu­rate enough for you to draw some con­clu­sions.

Us­ing the low and high fig­ures above, there should have been be­tween four­teen and twenty-one (14 – 21) names of “mi­nor­ity” ac­tors and ac­tresses in the four cat­e­gories that I se­lected from Mr Swanberg’s ar­ti­cle.

As noted, there were ten.

So then, did Mr Swan­berg make his point? 8

Be­fore you an­swer that, read on . . .

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Boycotting The Oscars: photo of actor Will Smith in HANCOCK.

In Han­cock (2008), the ex­tra­or­di­nar­ily pop­u­lar Will Smith plays a su­per­hero with a HUGE ego, a HUGE at­ti­tude, and a HUGE drink­ing prob­lem. While most view­ers and crit­ics fo­cused on the down-and-out and mis­un­der­stood su­per­hero as­pect of the film, few paid at­ten­tion to Smith's por­trayal of Han­cock as be­ing re­mark­ably sim­i­lar to a stereo­type of a home­less al­co­holic black man who, de­void of su­per­pow­ers, would just be an­other an­noy­ing ass­hole on the streets. PS: You won't find Mr Smith's name among the Os­car win­ners on this page.

The red herring and the straw men

First, the In­de­pen­dent Jour­nal is any­thing but in­de­pen­dent: it is very rightwing. Conor Swan­berg spe­cial­izes in ar­ti­cles with an ex­clu­sively rightwing per­spec­tive. While the text of "If Any­one Tells You the Os­cars Are ‘Too White,’ Have Them Take a Look at This List" is po­lit­i­cally blasé, the ti­tle of the ar­ti­cle stands as ed­i­to­r­ial com­ment. 

That said, Mr Swanberg's (im­plied) refu­ta­tion of the boy­cotters' po­si­tion and my (im­plied) refu­ta­tion of Mr Swanberg's refu­ta­tion are both just so much horsepuckey. And here is why:

• On one hand, the ar­ti­cle is a red her­ring in that it "dis­tracts from a rel­e­vant or im­por­tant is­sue."

• On the other hand, it's equally a straw man ar­gu­ment in that it "gives the im­pres­sion of re­fut­ing an opponent's ar­gu­ment, while ac­tu­ally re­fut­ing an ar­gu­ment which was not ad­vanced by that op­po­nent." 9

The peo­ple de­nounc­ing the Os­cars are not de­bat­ing the past fif­teen years. They are point­ing out that in the last two years (2014 and 2015), the to­tal num­ber of "mi­nor­ity" ac­tors and ac­tresses nom­i­nated — not win­ning, but just nom­i­nated — in the Big 4 cat­e­gories was zero (0).

Mr Swan­berg does not even ad­dress that in his piece.

In fact, let's look again at those cat­e­gories: the last time that a "mi­nor­ity" won Best Ac­tor in a Lead­ing Role was 2006, not a good sign racial-diversity-wise.

The last time that a "mi­nor­ity" won Best Ac­tress in a Lead­ing Role was 2001, again not a good sign.

And the last time that a "mi­nor­ity" won Best Ac­tor in a Sup­port­ing Role was 2004, ditto.

I dunno, but com­bine that with the zero nom­i­na­tions for a "mi­nor­ity" in any of the Big 4 cat­e­gories two years run­ning seems to paint a less than flat­ter­ing im­age of the Awards and would seem to give con­sid­er­able weight to the boy­cotters' ar­gu­ments.

But the last time that a "mi­nor­ity" woman won Best Ac­tress in a Sup­port­ing Role was 2013. In fact, a black ac­tress has won that Award four times in the past ten years, which would seem to be in Mr Swanberg's fa­vor.

But then again, it can be in­ter­preted as quite the op­po­site — if you catch my drift.

Almost all the Oscar voters are white!

Did you know that 94% of the Academy’s 6,000+ vot­ing mem­bers are white? If the mem­ber­ship of the Acad­emy of Mo­tion Pic­tures and Sci­ences vot­ers was rep­re­sen­ta­tional of the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion and 37% of the vot­ers were "mi­nori­ties," would we be hav­ing this con­ver­sa­tion right now?

So, do I be­lieve that the Acad­emy as an in­sti­tu­tion is racist?

Nope.

Do I be­lieve that the Acad­emy vot­ers as a group are racist?

Nope.

Do I think the black ac­tors have a point about in­grained cul­tural bias among the al­most ex­clu­sively white Acad­emy vot­ers beget­ting what can ap­pears, if only su­per­fi­cially, to be racism?

Yup.

I think that the method of mak­ing the nom­i­na­tions and se­lect­ing the win­ners is an­ti­quated and in­suf­fi­cient. First, given what we know about cul­tural bias — to which we are all sus­cep­ti­ble — it should be ad­dressed im­me­di­ately with a 'tenth man rule' com­mit­tee that over­sees un­con­sciously blind­ered de­ci­sions.

Sec­ond, I think that se­lect­ing one per­son as the "best" in any of the cat­e­gories is im­pos­si­ble and self-defeating. There should be at least five win­ners in each cat­e­gory and we still wouldn't cover all the bril­liant act­ing that we see year in and year out!

But couldn't it just be a coincidence?

Sure, I guess it could . . .

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Boycotting The Oscars: photo of actress Halle Barry.

FEATURED IMAGE: In 2002, Halle Berry re­ceived the Acad­emy Award for Best Ac­tress in a Lead­ing Role for her per­for­mance in Monster's Ball. It was the first time that a black woman had re­ceived that award; it was the last time that a black woman has re­ceived that award. Frankly, I found most of the pho­tos of the beau­ti­ful Halle Berry ac­cept­ing or pos­ing with her Os­car to be less than de­sir­able or dig­ni­fied. This one was the best of those large enough to be used as a fea­tured im­age. 10

PS: Just a thought here, but we white folk should prob­a­bly oughta wanna keep outta this brouhaha for the time be­ing — es­pe­cially if we have a "sus­pect" back­ground. As an ex­am­ple, there is Ger­ald Molen, who re­ferred to the boy­cotters as "spoiled brats" and some­how brought Michael Moore into this, re­fer­ring to him as a "so­cial­ist al­ways look­ing to in­sert his brand of racist ha­tred."

Huh?!!?

Mr Molen's movie 2016: Obama's Amer­ica pur­port­edly "doc­u­ments" rightwingnut and ap­par­ent racist Di­nesh D'Souza's fan­tasies about the fu­ture. This piece of anti-Obama pro­pa­ganda al­most un­does Mr Molen's mar­velous achieve­ments as pro­ducer of such fav­er­aves of Berni's and mine as Schindler's List, Juras­sic Park, Rain Man, Mi­nor­ity Re­port, and the under-appreciated Twister.

The com­bi­na­tion of this fake doc­u­men­tary with his ut­ter­ances could al­low oth­ers to paint Mr Molen as a knee-jerk rightwingnut­ty­buddy type.

As my fly-fishing phone-buddy John James Peipon would say, “Just sayin’ . . .”

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FOOTNOTES:

1   The word brouhaha is French and in­di­cates a state of so­cial ag­i­ta­tion when a mi­nor in­ci­dent gets out of con­trol. And here me wee brain has al­ways thought that brouhaha was some­thing that drunk Irish did — I prob­a­bly con­fused it with brew, ha ha!

2   The Ma­jor League Base­ball Hall of Fame is in Coop­er­stown, New York. It's the place where Pete Rose the player de­serves to be but ain't, as Pete Rose the man­ager may have for­ever barred his en­trance. And now that Bert Blyleven is in there where he be­longs, I can blather on about get­ting Dar­rell Evans and Craig Net­tles in there, too!

3   Berni and I love movies and watch lots of them. If it were up to her (and this is the sub­jec­tive part), Richard Cur­tis would be a de­ity, if only for Not­ting Hill, Love Ac­tu­ally, and About Time with Mr Bean be­ing for­given. If it were up to me Woody Allen would need a stor­age locker for his awards (way too many films to men­tion). 

4   And peo­ple with high­fa­lutin’ taste for avant-garde and ex­per­i­men­tal films, or with a low­fa­lutin’ taste for ‘B‘ and ex­ploita­tional movies, are free to dis­agree.

5   If you have not seen The Color Pur­ple, stop read­ing and go do what­ever it takes to put this at the top of your per­sonal list of Movies I Must See Be­fore I Die!

6   The sta­tis­tics are from “New study puts num­bers to the lack of "mi­nor­ity" rep­re­sen­ta­tion in film.” It fur­ther states, “Just over three-quarters of all speak­ing char­ac­ters are white (76.3%). These trends are rel­a­tively sta­ble, as lit­tle de­vi­a­tion is ob­served across the five-year sam­ple.”

7   There could be sev­eral rea­sons for this that are not di­rectly sys­temic racism, such as per­cent­age of black actor/actress wannabes per­ceiv­ing Hol­ly­wood as sys­tem­i­cally racist and don't bother pur­su­ing a ca­reer there.

8   Hell's Belles, did Swan­berg even do his re­search?

9   The de­f­i­n­i­tions for red her­ring and straw man are from Wikipedia; click on over to ei­ther for more in­for­ma­tion on these log­i­cal or in­for­mal fal­lac­ies

10  In most of the pho­tos that I found, Ms Berry's mouth is agape!

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Boycotting The Oscars: photo of actress Alfre Woodard.

Reg­u­lar read­ers know my pro­cliv­ity for tag­ging a photo of a gor­geous woman onto the end of an es­say — whether it fits the essay's con­tent or not. Here it's Al­fre Woodard, who has been one of the most beau­ti­ful women in Hol­ly­wood for decades. Her sole nom­i­na­tion by the Acad­emy was as Best Ac­tress in a Sup­port­ing Role for 1984's Cross Creek. For­tu­nately, she has also been nom­i­nated for and won a host of other re­lated awards.

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10 Replies to “boycotting the oscars for the "right" reasons”

  1. 1. Man, I'm speechless...momentarily!

    As a movie buff mine self, but also as an icon­o­clas­tic, opin­ion­ated in­di­vid­u­al­ist, I agree that stayin' out­ada brouhaha makes good sense!

    2. I com­mend you on your re­search and thought­ful com­men­tary! When the f**k do you find the time to do so many es­says so well? Heyna?!?

    Just Sayin'. Just Askin'.

    1. 1. White folks like us need to stay outta the brouhaha be­cause we're white. The Acad­emy has al­ready an­nounced that it is tak­ing steps to rec­tify the sit­u­a­tion of a board that is 94% white. Quotes be­low from their state­ment fol­lowed by my mod­est com­men­tary:

      "In a unan­i­mous vote Thurs­day night (1÷21), the Board of Gov­er­nors of the Acad­emy of Mo­tion Pic­ture Arts and Sci­ences ap­proved a sweep­ing se­ries of sub­stan­tive changes de­signed to make the Academy’s mem­ber­ship, its gov­ern­ing bod­ies, and its vot­ing mem­bers sig­nif­i­cantly more di­verse. The Board’s goal is to com­mit to dou­bling the num­ber of women and di­verse mem­bers of the Acad­emy by 2020.

      2020 is too long a wait. Im­me­di­ately im­ple­ment a Tenth Man Rule com­mit­tee to al­ways re­con­sider the body's nom­i­na­tions for in­clu­sion of "mi­nori­ties" plus those gen­res the vot­ers are bi­ased against (sci­ence fic­tion, fan­tasy, etc.).

      "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."

      Hah! Un­der­stand­able as a grandfather-like clause but Hah! Tenth Man Rule again.

      "At the same time, the Acad­emy will sup­ple­ment the tra­di­tional process in which cur­rent mem­bers spon­sor new mem­bers by launch­ing an am­bi­tious, global cam­paign to iden­tify and re­cruit qual­i­fied new mem­bers who rep­re­sent greater di­ver­sity."

      The rest of their pub­lic state­ment says noth­ing:

      https://www.oscars.org/news/academy-takes-historic-action-increase-diversity

      2. While my main time is saved for wait­ing foot and mouth on Berni, my spare time is spent pro­vid­ing read­ing ma­te­r­ial for peo­ple who would oth­er­wise be read­ing es­capist lit­er­a­ture. (Too much cof­fee is also to blame.)

      PS: Speak­ing of blame, did you know that rightwinguhs are still jus­ti­fy­ing the trea­so­nous out­ting of Va­lerie Plame by Robert No­vak by claim­ing she wasn't this or that. This com­pletely ig­nores the pos­si­ble (prob­a­ble? in­tended?) dam­age of Novak's ac­tion and fo­cuses on things that none of them can ever know!

      I have just started reread­ing MISTAKES WERE MADE (BUT NOT BY ME) and the fact that we can never (NEVER!) change these peo­ple un­less they wanna be changed is fi­nally (FINALLY!) sink­ing in.

        1. Do not skip a word, re­gard­less of how ob­vi­ous or re­dun­dant it may seem. Then a year later, read it again. I am get­ting more this time be­cause I have ap­plied some of what I learned the first time and it calmed some of my need to "teach" the un­washed messes.

          This sec­ond read is pretty much ELIMINATING that need — at least re­gard­ing con­ver­sa­tions whether puss-to-puss or Face­book­ing.

          You canna teach those that dinna care about learn­ing, heyna?

          I will just write in­stead . . .

    2. Hey John, I love James Woods the ac­tor — one of my faves of the past 20 years. But James Woods the "nor­mal guy" is the per­fect ex­am­ple of why white peo­ple should stay outta this.

      Here is his tweet that is get­ting a lot of at­ten­tion: "The mo­tion pic­ture Acad­emy an­nounced sep­a­rate bath­room fa­cil­i­ties to­day: one for Mem­bers and one for Old White Peo­ple."

      https://web.archive.org/web/20160422124418/http://www.ijreview.com:80/2016/01/523858-actor-james-woods-has-a-zinger-for-everyone-involved-in-the-oscars-controversy/?utm_source=email&utm_campaign=afternoon-newsletter&utm_medium=owned

  2. Grace and Paul sang it so well, so many years ago. "Don't ever change peo­ple, even if you can." Par­don if I mis­quoted.

    Five years is far to long! The Tenth Man Rule rules.

    1. In­ter­est­ing, the In­de­pen­dent Jour­nal has done a few follow-up pieces on the brouhaha, mostly time-wasting boolschidt, but they did one quot­ing Dustin Hoff­man about the big­ger is­sue of in­grained racism:

      In our coun­try, there’s a sub­lim­i­nal racism, and it’s been there … The end of the Civil War didn’t change that, it’s only been 200 hun­dred years, this is just an ex­am­ple of it. Other than black en­ter­tain­ers be­ing nom­i­nated, there’s a big­ger prob­lem with young black in­di­vid­u­als be­ing killed on our streets by po­lice. That’s a big­ger prob­lem.”

      I am sur­prised that that is­sue was even ad­dressed by the IJ let alone in a pos­i­tive con­text.

      https://web.archive.org/web/20160307112023/http://www.ijreview.com:80/2016/01/520609-dustin-hoffman-makes-a-bold-accusation-about-racism-and-the-white-oscars/?utm_source=email&utm_campaign=afternoon-newsletter&utm_medium=owned

  3. Grate Grom­mett in Heaven knows there has been a hel­lu­valot of com­men­tary on the Os­car sit­u­a­tion, much of it just that — com­men­tary.

    Opin­ion. (Hum­bug!)

    And I can't keep up with it all here; nor would I want to. But I liked this one as it's a con­crete, work­able sug­ges­tion:

    "Spike Lee sug­gested that the stu­dios adopt a ver­sion of the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which obliges ex­ec­u­tives to in­ter­view mi­nor­ity can­di­dates for se­nior po­si­tions be­fore hir­ing for that job.

    'What can stu­dios do to be more in­clu­sive?' asked an Oscar-nominated writer-director who spoke un­der the con­di­tion of anonymity. 'Hir­ing more women and peo­ple of color in the ex­ec­u­tive ranks is a start. They would bring in a dif­fer­ent kind of tal­ent into the sys­tem.'

    Vol­un­tary steps are ways for stu­dios to be proac­tive about in­clu­sion. They would not be puni­tive, as are man­dates or quo­tas.”

    From "To Make the Os­cars More Di­verse, Let’s Adopt Football’s Rooney Rule" by Car­rie Rickey (Truthdig, Jan­u­ary 29, 2016).

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