Oscars Slammed By Congressman Over “Lack Of Diversity” & Studio Bosses CC’d

By Dominic Patten, Patrick Hipes

Just days before the 87th annual Oscars Rep. Tony Cárdenas (D-San Fernando Valley) suddenly wants to take Hollywood to task for what he says is his “shock at the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscars nominees.” CC-ing half of Hollywood, the fairly representative of California’s 29th District sent wide a letter today to Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs requesting a meeting to discuss what Cárdenas says is the “unfortunate” situation of “such a revered American institution fail to fully reflect our nation.” (Read the entire letter below.)

Freshmen Representatives Hold News Conf. On Comprehensive Immigration ReformThe politician cc’d studio bosses including Warner Bros’ Kevin Tsujihara, Disney’s Sean Bailey, Universal’s Donna Langley, Columbia’s Doug Belgrad, Fox’s Jim Gianopulos and Paramount’s Brad Grey. AMPAS did not comment on the letter when contacted by Deadline. Cárdenas’ office tells us the letter was put in the mail today so it might not even be showing up at anyone’s offices until tomorrow at the earliest.

This year’s nominations and snubs did provoke outrage — trending topics included #WhiteOscars #OscarsSoWhite on noms day. But that was January 15, making Cárdenas’ timing today seem opportunistic, with silence on the matter for weeks and Oscar voting ending today at 5 PM PT. The congressman’s office sent out a wide press release announcing the letter as opposed to picking up the phone to talk with Boone Isaccs or the Academy privately about the issue.

Cárdenas has been working to place himself in the middle of Hollywood issues since he was elected in November 2012. Today’s Academy call-out comes a day before he is set to host a panel on the negative effects of the proposed Comcast-Time Warner Cable merger in conjunction with the WGA West. His office says he will make “an important policy announcement” related to the merger, which if it goes through will reach 96% of L.A. County residents.

The former LA City Councilman holds a seat on the powerful House Energy and Commerce Committee that Henry Waxman once chaired and sat on until his recent retirement. The committee is expected to be near the epicenter of upcoming debates on net neutrality, changes to the Affordable Care Act, energy policy and media consolidation, such as the Comcast-TWC merger. Cárdenas is the first Latino elected to represent the San Fernando Valley.

Here is the letter the congressman sent out today:

Ms. Cheryl Boone Isaacs


Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences

8949 Wilshire Boulevard

Beverly Hills, California 90211

Dear President Boone Isaacs:

I write to express my shock at the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscars nominees. While the issue of diversity in the entertainment industry is a much deeper problem, without an easy solution, it is unfortunate to see such a revered American institution fail to fully reflect our nation.

Hollywood and film portray who we are as a people and what we value as a culture. When we fail to include diverse, talented faces, reflecting both today and tomorrow’s America, we send a poor message to our youth and the world. We are not celebrating the diversity that makes this country unique. I believe we must do better.

I represent a district with one of the greatest amounts of spending on film industry vendors, so I appreciate just how important the industry is to our local and national economy. I want to work with you to improve diversity in the entertainment industry and in Academy membership. I understand this endeavor will take time to achieve, but I am committed to working with you to make sure the industry is more reflective of the rich diversity of the city it calls home.

I am also interested in learning about the actions you are taking to promote diversity and add new and varied voices to the current media conversation. You are in a unique position to help influence this change in Hollywood and the entertainment industry as a whole. As an ambassador for the industry, you can support and ensure the diversification of our schools, stages, board meetings and production rooms.

As a Latino and an engineer, I know what it’s like to be in a work environment full of people who don’t look like me. Throughout my career as a small business owner and as an elected official, I have surrounded myself with a diverse environment and promoted policies and hiring practices that are reflective of our community’s vast diversity. I have always been conscious of making sure that opportunities are available to talented and qualified people. I want to work with you to improve diversity in the Academy membership and the entertainment industry in a similar fashion.

I would like to meet with you to begin a dialogue on how to build a more diverse entertainment industry to better represent the diversity of our nation and the world.

Please contact my Chief of Staff Sam Jammal at (202) 225-6131 to set up a time to meet. I look forward to working together on finding solutions to this problem that affects us all.



Member of Congress


John Bailey, Cinematographers Branch

Curt Behlmer, Sound Branch

Annette Bening, Actors Branch

Kathryn Bigelow, Directors Branch

Jim Bissell, Designers Branch

Jon Bloom, Short Films and Feature Animation Branch

Dick Cook, Executives Branch

Richard Edlund, Visual Effects Branch

Leonard Engelman, Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Branch

Rob Epstein, Documentary Branch

Charles Fox, Music Branch

Rob Friedman, Public Relations Branch

Mark Goldblatt, Film Editors Branch

Kathleen Kennedy, Producers Branch

Jeffrey Kurland, Costume Designers Branch

Phil Robinson, Writers Branch

David Rubin, Casting Directors Branch

Kevin Tsujihara, Chairman and CEO, Warner Bros. Pictures

Sean Bailey, President, Walt Disney Pictures

Donna Langley, Chairman, Universal Pictures

Doug Belgrad, President, Columbia Pictures

Jim Gianopulos, Chairman and CEO, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation

Brad Grey, Chairman and CEO, Paramount Pictures

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2015/02/oscars-lack-of-diversity-nominees-congressman-tony-cardenas-studios-1201375389/