Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs on Selma Snubs, Lack of Diversity

By
Cheryl Boone Isaacs (r), with Chris Pine. Photo: Getty

For a while there, it looked like Selma director Ava DuVernay would make history this year as the first black woman nominated for Best Director, but while the film itself managed to score a Best Picture nomination today, DuVernay was snubbed. What's more, Selma's powerhouse star David Oyelowo couldn't manage to break into the Best Actor category in a year when all 20 acting nominees were white. With those sober facts in mind, we had to ask Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs whether the organization has a problem with recognizing diversity.

"Not at all. Not at all," she told Vulture this morning, after reading the nominations out loud with Chris Pine. "The good news is that the wealth of talent is there, and it's being discussed, and it's helpful so much for talent — whether in front of the camera or behind the camera — to have this recognition, to have this period of time where there is a lot of publicity, a lot of chitter-chatter."

But had Isaacs, herself the first African-American to preside over the Academy, expected more nominations from the well-reviewed Selma? "Well, it's a terrific motion picture, and that we can never and should not take away from it, the fact that it is a terrific motion picture," she said. "There are a lot of terrific motion pictures, it's a very competitive time, and there's a lot of great work that has been done. I am very happy that Selma is included in our eight terrific motion-picture [nominations]."