Governors Awards recipient Spike Lee reminded hundreds of Hollywood heavy-hitters about their failure at diversity, warning, “You better get smart” about making films that represent the population — because by 2043, Caucasians are going to be the minority in the U.S.
Lee’s 15-minute speech was delivered in a calm and genial manner, concluding Saturday’s awards ceremony that also honored Debbie Reynolds and Gena Rowlands. Lee said when he goes through Hollywood offices, there are only white faces, and the only person of color is the man checking the name at the door. “This industry is so behind, it’s ridiculous,” he said, adding that it’s apparently easier for a black person to become president of the U.S. than the head of a studio or TV network.
Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs opened the evening by urging Hollywood to move ahead on diversity, saying, “Words are not enough; we need to take action.” She said the Academy has begun a program called A20/20, a five-year plan to get executives to think outside the traditional thinking when hiring, mentoring and encouraging new talent. She also addressed the deaths in Paris on Friday, saying “all of us here stand in solidarity with France and the French people.”