I am still upset that Laura Dern was not made the president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which would have made history, but at least the guy they chose seems to have some nice things to say about diversity.
The Los Angeles Times interviewed newly minted prez John Bailey, who has been on the academy’s board of governors for 14 years, and working as a cinematographer for 50 years. The Times asked him about the diversity initiatives that are so desperately needed:
Cheryl Boone Isaacs was very vocal about the need to diversify the academy’s membership. Do you intend to be equally forthright in continuing the academy’s A2020 initiative?
I’m very committed to it. Clearly the academy is too. Diversity has always been important to me in my career. I could give you chapter and verse in how long I’ve been hiring minorities and women on my camera crews and grip and electrical. This is crucial!
I’ve been involved in the concept of diversity before it ever became a buzzword. I’ve been involved where it really counts, which is not writing memos or talking about it, but actually working with people on the set. It’s bred in my bones.
Hiring people is definitely crucial and it’s cool to have an older white man openly acknowledge that. Since Bailey is recommending action, we will theoretically be able to measure how he demonstrates this breeding during his tenure. May your words end in results, man-who-is-not-Laura-Dern!