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France’s Academy of Cinema Arts and Sciences president Alain Terzian was questioned about diversity in the wake of the #OscarsSoWhite controversy in the U.S. following Wednesday morning’s announcement of the Cesar Awards nominations.
“I have no opinion on what is happening there,” he said about the Oscars debate.
He added, though, that he was “comfortable” addressing the Cesars and their diversity and cited several winners from recent years, including Omar Sy, Reda Kateb, Tahar Rahim, Leila Bekhti and Abdellatif Kechiche.
Terzian also mentioned Moroccan comedian Jammel Debbouze, who has hosted the ceremony in recent years. Sy had been asked to host this year, but was busy filming and could not attend, he said. That role will be filled by female comedian Florence Floresti, who follows Cecile de France.
“For me, the talent has to speak for itself,” said Terzian. He added that the French Academy does not keep statistics on the racial makeup of its members. It is illegal in France to ask about race or ethnicity in data gathering.
Terzian also joked that as an ethnic Armenian, there should be a quota for Armenian films in France. “Armenians are very underrepresented,” he quipped.
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