L.A. Mayor on Oscars Diversity Problem: "I Agree With the Criticism"

Courtesy of Office of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti
Garcetti

"I am not as worried about a boycott," Eric Garcetti said on Tuesday.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti has weighed in on the diversity conversation surrounding this year's Oscar nominations.

"I agree with the criticism," said the mayor during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, where he was talking about tax incentives that he hopes will bring location filming back to Los Angeles.

He continued: "I think Los Angeles reflects the country and the way the world is today. Our diversity is our strength and our diversity is what makes the culture so interesting here. We need to lift up and celebrate the actors, producers, directors and writers who reflect that same diversity."

The Academy has received much criticism in the days following the announcement of this year's Oscar nominations, when it was revealed that everyone in the acting categories is white.  

Garcetti continued: "I was with Cheryl Boone Isaacs last night and I know she is pushing really hard as the first black woman at the head of the Academy. I think over time the Academy has to keep up with the times, or else they are going to continue to have these problems." 

The mayor also addressed those who plan on boycotting the Oscars, which include director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith. "I am not as worried about a boycott. I respect that and that they absolutely have the right to do that, but we will still celebrate film no matter what. It is certainly a wake up call," he said.   

Garcetti held the press conference on the set of Live by Night — a new feature film starring, directed and produced by Ben Affleck — to discuss his "Greenlight Hollywood" campaign.  

Nearly one year ago, the mayor signed an executive directive geared toward broadening L.A.'s support for the film and television industry through financial incentives, including California film tax credits and the assistance of the mayor's office of motion picture and television production.

On Tuesday, FilmL.A. released its year-end report on feature film production in Los Angeles, noting that it saw a decrease of 4.2 percent in 2015. Although, as the organization notes, in the final quarter of the year (October to December), when the mayor's executive directive really took effect, five tax-incentivized features began production, including The Conjuring 2 and James Franco's The Disaster Artist.

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