Academy President Talks Oscar Ending “Shock” & Future Plans – SXSW


“It was really a wonderful night and yes, there was a little excitement at the end. It was shock,” said Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, speaking at SXSW today in one of her first public appearances since the Oscars Best Picture snafu last month.

“However, what I thought was so important was how, in a matter of minutes, you saw a humanity and a respect and a graciousness from the La La Land filmmakers and the Moonlight filmmakers in way that I thought was very special,” she said. “I felt with everyone associated… all came together in a beautiful note and a beautiful ending.”

Boone Isaacs was joined onstage today during the panel discussion by Hidden Figures scribe Allison Schroeder, who felt, within the chaos, that the moment was special for both films. “It was a moment when the movie stars were no longer movie stars and the millionaire producers were no longer millionaire [producers], everyone was just an artist trying to support both sides… there was a comradeship.”

The pair were on hand in the Austin Convention Center, to talk mostly on the evolution of the business and the strong push for inclusiveness, which Boone Isaacs said the Academy had “already been committed to doing,” before the #OscarSoWhite campaign.

“It appeared outside to work quickly,” she said on the changes that took place in the organization. “But truthfully, we become more vocal about it than our normal process.” She also helped launch the A2020 initiative, which focused on “increasing inclusion for gender, people of color, and international.” “This conversation will continue… it gives as a goal to work for,” she said.

Having served the maximum four consecutive terms, Boone Isaacs’ tenure will come to an end this year. She said she’ll miss the conversations like the one today, and touched on what her future plans might be.

“I’ve traveled around the world and met the most interesting people — I will continue that,” she said. “I always have and I always will. I’m fascinated about people’s individual journey, I don’t care what they do.”

Before then, Boone Isaacs will be honored with the Pioneer of the Year award this month at CinemaCon.

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