While many jokes throughout the 2015 Oscars ceremony took jabs at the lack of diversity among the nominees, the Academy almost had to deal with a protest about the same issue. That is, until Ava DuVernay reportedly stepped in.
The Los Angeles Times reports that Selma director DuVernay requested that the National Action Network, which planned to hold a protest during Sunday night’s Oscar ceremony, not take such action.
“The Los Angeles chapter of the National Action Network has agreed to forgo our planned protests of the Oscars today and pursue instead a direct dialogue with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences,” the NAN said in a statement to the Times.
DuVernay herself was not nominated for a Best Directing Oscar, but Selma was nominated for Best Picture and for Best Original Song. The film took home the latter award for John Legend and Common’s “Glory.” The lack of overall nominations for the film, however, in conjunction with the all-white nominee fields in all four acting categories, has drawn criticism for this year’s ceremony.
“We salute all the artists being celebrated today at the Oscars while demanding an examination of the sidelining and underrepresentation of artists of color and women artists,” the Network’s local political director Najee Ali said.
Oscar host Neil Patrick Harris pointed to the show’s lack of diversity early in the evening, saying, “Tonight we honor Hollywood’s best and whitest—sorry, brightest.”
A representative for the National Action Network did not immediately respond to a request for comment.