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Spike Lee Isn’t Sure New Oscars Diversity Standards Will Be Effective: “You Got To Be In The Motherf*cking Room”


Even though Spike Lee is a diehard Knicks fan and a longtime resident of NYC, the latter of which has been under attack recently due to its strict COVID precautions, the filmmaker is having one hell of a 2020. Not only is his recent Netflix feature, “Da 5 Bloods,” deep in the conversation for awards season but he’s also set to release a new HBO film, “David Byrne’s American Utopia” later this month. But in a new discussion with Variety, he really has more to say about his recently passed collaborator Chadwick Boseman and the new Oscars standards that are aiming to help inclusion and diversity efforts in Hollywood.

“He did not look well, but my mind never took that he had cancer,” said Lee about working with Boseman during “Da 5 Bloods.” “It was a very strenuous shoot. I mean, we all didn’t get to Vietnam until the end of the movie at Ho Chi Minh City. But that other stuff, the jungle stuff, was shot in Thailand. It was 100 degrees every day. It was also at that time the worst air pollution in the world. I understand why Chadwick didn’t tell me because he didn’t want me to take it easy. If I had known, I wouldn’t have made him do the stuff. And I respect him for that.”

Though he didn’t have a lot of information about Chadwick Boseman before the actor passed, Lee does have quite a bit of things to talk about regarding the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, aka the folks who run the Oscars. Recently, the Academy announced changes that are to take effect in 2024 and will change the requirements for qualifications based on inclusion and diversity.

Regarding those changes, Lee isn’t incredibly hopeful that it means that lasting change is around the corner in the industry.

“A lot of loopholes,” explained the filmmaker. “Hire a white publicist. I need to sit down with somebody from the Academy. Look, I think their heart is in the right place. I will say that. But the battlefield for me is the rarefied air of the gatekeepers. These are the people, individuals who decide what we’re making and what we’re not making, who’s going to write it, who’s going to direct it, who’s going to produce it, who’s a star in this. In speaking about the subject, I always go to Lin-Manuel’sHamilton‘ — You got to be in the motherfucking room. You got to be in the room where it happens. If we’re not in the motherfucking room where the motherfucker happens, ain’t no motherfucking thing going to change. Quote that!”

Even though Lee might not be completely happy with the first round of changes that are happening at the Academy, he does think it’s a step in the right direction. And for those people who don’t agree with the changes, he really doesn’t have much to say.

“They probably voted for ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ and ‘Green Book,’” said the director.

If you want to check out Lee’s most recent film’s, you can watch “Da 5 Bloods” now on Netflix and “David Byrne’s American Utopia” will debut on HBO and HBO Max on October 17.

This content was originally published here.

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