Oscar-Snubbed Ava DuVernay: ‘There’s a Belonging Problem’ in White Male Dominated Hollywood

Selma Director Ava DuVernay, who was mostly snubbed from last year’s Academy Awards, said during an event for the Sundance Film Festival on Sunday that she hates the word “diversity.”

“We’re hearing a lot about diversity,” she told a roomful of people for luncheon in Park City, Utah, according to The New York Times. “I hate that word so, so much.”

“I feel it’s a medicinal word that has no emotional resonance, and this is a really emotional issue,” she said. “It’s emotional for artists who are women and people of color to have less value placed on our worldview.”

Rather than using the word “diversity,” DuVernay said words like “inclusion” or “belonging” better summarize Hollywood’s recent issues regarding minority representation in film.

“There’s a belonging problem in Hollywood,” she said, “Who dictates who belongs? The very body who dictates that looks all one way.”

“Change has to happen, it has to happen with the people who dictate who belongs,” DuVernay added. “It’s disconcerting to hear people say that shouldn’t change. That’s the very reason it should.”

On Jan. 14, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced that for a second straight year, all 20 nominations in the main acting categories went to white actors.

Last Friday, after the renewed #OscarsSoWhite controversy saw stars like Will and Jada Pinkett Smith and filmmakers Spike Lee and Michael Moore pledge to boycott the Oscars over its lack of diversity, the Academy announced a series of extensive measures to update its voting rules and organizational structure.

The measures will remove voting privileges from many older Academy members and aggressively recruit new voting members “who represent greater diversity.”


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