Ava DuVernay on Academy Rule Change: ‘Shame Is a Helluva Motivator’

“One good step in a long, complicated journey for people of color + women artists,” director of “Selma” says about latest diversity push

Ava DuVernay was one of the first of the Hollywood elite to comment on the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences’ announcement that it will make “a sweeping series of substantive changes” to promote diversity at the Oscars.

“Just received from . One good step in a long, complicated journey for people of color + women artists,” the “Selma” director tweeted early Friday afternoon.

However, DuVernay went on to make a blunt assessment regarding what brought about the changes.

“Shame is a helluva motivator,” the wrote. “We’ve all felt shame even when we didn’t believe we were wrong. It’s the fact that EVERYONE ELSE thinks you’re wrong. Fix it mode kicks in.

“Marginalized artists have advocated for Academy change for DECADES. Actual campaigns. Calls voiced FROM THE STAGE. Deaf ears. Clòsed minds,” she continued.

“Whether it’s shame, true feelings, or being dragged kicking + screaming, just get it done. Because the alternative isn’t pretty.”

The most dramatic of the rule changes affects the lifetime voting privilege attached to Academy membership. After 10 years, a member’s Oscar voting privileges will be renewed for another 10 years if he or she has been “active in motion pictures” during the past decade. After three consecutive terms of eligibility, the member will receive lifetime voting privileges. The change will go into effect after this year’s Oscars on Feb. 28.

The changes also involve “an ambitious, global campaign to identify and recruit qualified new members who represent greater diversity,” according to the Academy press release. In addition, three new seats will be added to the AMPAS Board of Governors, with the members nominated by the president and approved by the board rather than being elected by the members of any specific branch.

Civil rights group Color Of Change also commented on the move in a statement to TheWrap Friday, saying: “We applaud the board for this time acting expediently to fix a problem 100 plus years in the making- this is one important step forward but this can not be the end. It critical to note that this isn’t about ‘seeking validation,’ but rejecting a discriminatory system that sends a message to far too many that they are unwelcome.

“But let’s not forget that this is about a completely flawed system — from the lack of diversity of critics who determine which movies get Oscar buzz, to discrimination in casting and the whitewashing of historical figures, to the underfunding of projects helmed by people of color,” the statement continued. “Hollywood is a reflection of power structures in our country and we still have much work to do in order to ensure we see the kind of real change that creates a better reality for our people both in and out of the industry.”

The current Academy president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, is the only African-American on the 51-member board.

The Academy’s goal, it said in the statement, is to double the number of women and diverse members of AMPAS by 2020.

See Ava DuVernay‘s tweets below.

How are you?

I am a News Editor with TheWrap and we are covering the Academy rule changes that were just announced to promote diversity.


Does Chris Rock have a comment about it?

Thanks for all your help,