Academy president urges Oscar nominees to ‘stand up’
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs gave an impassioned appeal to fellow members to “stand up” in politically turbulent times during her speech at Monday’s Oscars nominees’ luncheon.
Boone Isaacs devoted her time in front of the more than 165 Oscar nominees at the annual event to urging them to go political in their work and words.
The academy has reacted strongly to U.S. President Donald Trump’s executive order suspending immigration from seven predominantly Muslim countries, which would have prevented Oscar-nominated Iranian director Asghar Farhadi from attending the Feb. 26 Oscars before a federal judge blocked the ban. Farhadi, a vocal critic of the policy, wasn’t at the luncheon at the Beverly Hilton hotel and has said he won’t attend the Oscars.
“Each and every one of us knows there are some empty chairs in this room, which have made academy artists activists,” Boone Isaacs said. “There’s a struggle globally today about artistic freedom that feels more urgent now more than any time since the 1950s. Art has no borders and doesn’t belong to a single faith. The power of art is that it transcends all of these things and strong societies don’t censor art. They celebrate it.