While much of the #oscarssowhite conversation has focused on this year’s Oscar nominees, and the Academy‘s failure to nominate a more diverse roster of contenders, the issue goes far beyond those vying for trophies next month. The industry as a whole not only needs to tell stories from a bigger array of perspectives, but it also needs to mix up the critical guard to include more varied voices. Last fall, Meryl Streep brought attention to the gender imbalance when it comes to the film criticism world, and now Ryan Coogler is raising awareness that more color is needed among the ranks too.
Accepting the New Generation Award from the LA Film Critics Association earlier this month, the “Creed” director shared a terrific story about his first visit to the Cannes Film Festival, and how he gained an appreciation for film criticism by watching Variety’s Justin Chang pound out reviews on the Croisette. It was from those reviews that Coogler was turned on to what has become one of his favorite films: Jacques Audiard‘s “A Prophet.” And Coogler closed his speech by urging those in the room to keep moving forward.
“Reach back into the community and find the next Justin Chang,” he said. “Find the diversity. Find the voices that are in those places you might not think to look, because it will be amazing to see the next generation. Maybe more of them will look like Sue [Kroll, president of Warner Bros.]. Maybe more of them will look like me and Mike [Jordan, star of ‘Creed’]. Maybe more of them will look like Justin.”
Meanwhile, the director is still on the stump for “Creed” and shared that he’s unlikely to direct “Creed 2” — which is aiming for a 2017 release — given his duties on “Black Panther.”
Check out Coogler’s diversity speech below.
Creed director Ryan Coogler was inspired at Festival de Cannes…Creed director Ryan Coogler’s impassioned speech on film criticism and the need for more diversity
Posted by Variety on Friday, January 15, 2016