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This piece by Patricia Resnick, a member of the Academy’s writers branch who is best known for writing the screenplay of 9 to 5, is part of an ongoing series of guest columns by Academy members about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy and the Academy’s response to it.
To the Board of Governors of the Academy:
So let me see if I have this right. I managed, against all odds, to become a produced, young female screenwriter in the 1970’s, getting my first credit co-writing for arguably the preeminent director of his time, Robert Altman. By 27, I had written the highest-grossing film of 1980 and what was to become one of the iconic comedies of our time, 9 to 5. I wrote a number of other films, got some produced and then found myself running into the brick wall of ageism and sexism by my mid-forties. As the sole provider for my two children, I did what I could to take care of us all, which meant going where the work was for me: television movies, then television pilots and then series work. I am still working and my current credits include consulting producer on Mad Men and Recovery Road and creator of my own pilot starring Alan Cumming at Showtime.
One of the proudest accomplishments of my life was being invited to join the Academy way back in the eighties, and now I am being told that I no longer deserve to vote because the Academy is too white and too male. I happen to be female and I’m also gay, another underrepresented minority, and yet, because I haven’t been hired on a film in the last 10 years, I am to be booted into the “emeritus” status and replaced by younger members who are being asked to join in order to help you deal with a publicity nightmare. By the way, the actors branch nominated or didn’t nominate certain actors. Replacing sexism and racism with ageism is not the answer. It’s like deciding to boycott graduation at a college that is not diverse instead of the admissions office. The problems lie with the motion picture business decision-makers, not the Academy members.
I’m angry and I’m ashamed of the Academy.
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