Inspired by #OscarsSoWhite, cable powerhouse HBO has greenlit a #BlackLivesMatter documentary. President of HBO Documentary films Sheila Nevins told The Hollywood Reporter that when she saw the Oscar nominations, she was incredibly disappointed that they didn’t reflect the true diversity of our society and our values.
“The morning of the Oscar nominations. I noticed that all the [documentary] films that were up there, there was almost nothing about America, and my heart broke because I realized that documentary filmmakers are not looking in their own backyard. And if they are, they’re not being recognized for it. The fact that there was no documentary about Black Lives Matter at a time when this is such a critical American issue … was unbelievable. I said to my colleague here, ‘Call [a director she declined to name in case a deal doesn’t transpire]. See how much it would cost to do a big documentary about what’s been happening in this country.’ You have to do it,” she said.
There are no other details of when the film will be finished and shown, but this is definitely a step in the right direction. Now, hopefully the network will follow Nevin’s lead and have more scripted dramas and comedies that are written by and starring people of color.
Meanwhile in Park City, Utah, the famed Sundance Film Festival refuses to play the same games as the Oscars, boasting more than two dozen films by Black filmmakers during the 10-day festival, NBC reported.
Sundance President and Oscar-winning director Robert Redford emphasized that promoting diversity is a major priority for his festival, saying “The point of it all in the first place was to create an opportunity for new voices in film to have a place to speak. That’s something I think we’re generally pretty proud of, is how we show diversity in the festival because we think it’s important.”
Some of the most anticipated Black films to be seen this year include Spike Lee’s Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to Off the Wall, Nate Parker’s Birth of a Nation, Tahir Jetter’s How To Tell If You’re a Douchebag and the Obama romance film Southside With You.
And finally, Oscar producer Reginald Hudlin squashed any rumors that the show’s host Chris Rock was quitting. Hudlin recently told Entertainment Tonight that Rock and his writing team have “locked themselves in a room. As things got a little provocative and exciting, he said, ‘I’m throwing out the show I wrote and writing a new show.’”
And the Academy knows they Rock isn’t going to ignore the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and plans on coming for them hard, Hudlin confirmed.
“They’re excited about him doing that. They know that’s what we need. They know that’s what the public wants, and we deliver what the people want,” Hudlin stressed.
Not sure that we buy that “they’re excited” about getting roasted for their racism, but we’re definitely excited to see that opening monologue.
Will you be watching the Oscars this year or joining Jada and Spike by boycotting them?