Ryan Coogler reportedly does not want to help the Academy increase Black membership. The “Creed” director was among hundreds of new invitees to judge others’ work for the annual Oscars ceremony. But reports show he has not sent in an acceptance letter.
Sources told The Hollywood Reporter Coogler is uninterested in joining the 2016 class.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced it sent 683 invitations to potential new members in June. They included “artists and executives who have distinguished themselves by their contributions to theatrical motion pictures.”
Among the Black movie stars on this list, actor invitees include Anthony Anderson, Loretta Devine, John Boyega, Chadwick Boseman, Idris Elba, Vivica A. Fox and Ice Cube, who the organization also invited to join the writers’ branch.
Directors the Academy recruited are “Scary Movie’s” Keenan Ivory Wayans, Melvin van Peebles of “Sweet Sweetback’s Baadasssss Song” and George Tillman Jr., who directed “Notorious.” Coogler holds an invitation for this branch as well as the writers’ division.
Sources hinted to THR the 30-year-old filmmaker’s lack of attention to the invite may not mean he is making a stance against diversity initiatives. Instead, it could be he simply would rather not judge the art of his peers.
However, his representatives did not give the website a comment on the matter.
The push to increase Black membership stems from the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that rocked Hollywood earlier this year. The Academy snubbed several actors and films, leading Jada Pinkett-Smith to call for a boycott of the program.
After the ceremony, the organization announced changes to Oscar voting rules. Additionally, president Cheryl Boone Isaacs removed the membership cap. Many in Hollywood – like Don Cheadle and John Legend – stated it was a step in the right direction.
But not everyone applauded the move. Milton Justice, a white Oscar-winning member of the Academy, deemed the new rules “insulting” to Black people. He went on to diss Ava DuVernay’s “Selma” and actor David Oyelowo’s portrayal of Martin Luther King Jr.