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SHOWBIZ NEWS THIS PAST WEEK
(Mini Reads followed by Full Reports below)

EMOTIONAL PIA REUNITES WITH HER MOTHER IN THE PHILIPPINES


JANUARY 23 -SCREENGRABBED FROM PHILSTAR VIDEO Fans and members of the press welcomed Pia Wurtzbach when she arrived in Manila on Saturday for her homecoming. READ: Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach returns home But there is one welcome the reigning Miss Universe is probably happiest to receive: the one from her mother, Cheryl Alonzo Tyndall. A video posted on the official Miss Universe Facebook page shows Pia reunited with her mom at a hotel room in Quezon City. PHOTO Newly crowned Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach addresses the crowd upon arrival early Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at suburban Pasay City, south of Manila, Philippines. Wurtzbach was crowned Miss Universe on Dec. 20, 2015 but not before pageant host Steve Harvey incorrectly announced Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as the winner at the Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas. AP/Bullit Marquez"So happy this moment was captured. There is no better feeling in the world than coming home to family," Pia said in the Facebook post. Tyndall is a retired nurse based in London and flew to the Philippines for Pia's Miss Universe homecoming.FULL REPORT, RELATED - Pia Wurtzbach shares fabulous official Miss Universe photos...

ALSO: Pia Wurtzbach says even if you are Miss Universe you can be 'sawi' when it comes to love life


JANUARY 24 -Newly crowned Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach shows her crown during a news conference Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 in suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez 
MANILA, Philippines - She may be the reigning Miss Universe, but Pia Wurtzbach said she is still "sawi" when her love life is concerned.
During her homecoming press conference on Sunday, the 26-year-old beauty queen was asked about a statement she made during one of the pre-taped clips shown during the telecast of the 64th Miss Universe pageant last month. In the clip, Pia implied that her mother does not know that she has a boyfriend. "My mother doesn't know, so no," she said in the clip. "It was nothing, really," Pia said of her statement. "I thought it was something. But it was nothing." Pia reiterated that she does not have a boyfriend and she didn't have a boyfriend when she was competing in the Miss Universe pageant. "Although I thought I was seeing somebody but it turns out I wasn't," she clarified. "Tignan mo, kahit na Miss Universe ka, pwede ka pa ring maging sawi," Pia quipped, adding that she is currently focused in her tasks as Miss Universe. Gesturing to her crown, Pia said: "This is my boyfriend for now." Pia was romantically linked to President Benigno Aquino III prior to the pageant, although she has maintained that they are just friends. In previous interview before the Miss Universe pageant, Pia said that she is single and is focused in competing for the crown.THE FULL REPORT. RELATED, Pia Wurtzbach says next dream is to be a Bond girl...

ALSO: (INTERVIEW) What Pia did on her first day home


JANUARY 25 -Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach holds a copy of The STAR during an interview with entertainment editors at the Novotel Hotel in Quezon City yesterday. RICKY LO
Wearing a blue dress (her “lucky” color) during a one-on-one with The STAR yesterday afternoon before she presided over the general press conference at the ballroom of the Novotel Hotel in Quezon City where she’s billeted for her week-long homecoming, 2015 Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach said that the first thing she did as soon as she arrived was give her mom, Cheryl Alonzo Tindell, a big hug. The mom flew in from England ahead of Pia.
Wearing her sash but not her $300,000 Miss Universe crown, Pia proceeded to talk about the three things that she missed most during her month-long stay in New York after the pageant, which will be her home during her reign, and where she gets the energy for the hectic schedule during her homecoming, including a parade around Metro Manila today; a courtesy call on Pres. Noynoy Aquino in Malacañang Palace and on the House of Representatives; a tribute show at Araneta Coliseum on Thursday, Jan. 28; serving as bridesmaid at the wedding of her friend Pauleen Luna to Vic Sotto on Saturday, Jan. 30; and what she plans to do after her reign. Here’s the full interview: What was the first thing that you did upon your arrival last Saturday?  “I didn’t have my phone with me during the ride from the airport to the hotel. But first thing I did as soon as I got to the hotel was hug my mom who arrived (from England) ahead of me. First time that I saw her after the Miss U pageant.” What did you miss most about the Philippines during the one month you were in New York after you won? “Three things: the food, the people…it’s so nice to speak in Tagalog…and the weather because it’s so cold in New York. I heard there’s a blizzard now and I’m so glad I’m not there, hehehehe!” Did you miss someone special? “No, not really. My mom, maybe.” Pia in a reunion with best friend Pauleen Luna, shown at right in a loving kiss with her soon-to-be husband Vic Sotto on Eat, Bualaga! last Saturday. Pia will serve as bridesmaid at Pauleen and Vic’s wedding on Saturday, Jan. 30. — From Pauleen’s Instagram You said in a pre-pageant (Miss U) interview, “My mother doesn’t know about it, so no.” At the Philippine Consulate in New York, you were quoted saying, “Akala ko kami…” “Hahahaha!!! It wasn’t a boyfriend; it was just somebody I was dating.”  Who was he? Siguro nanghihinayang na siya ngayon. “Hmmm, nothing serious. Huwag na lang.”  You said that during your one-year reign, ‘yung crown mo ang boyfriend mo. If ever, nakapila ang suitors, what type of man do you prefer? “Somebody who is smart and intelligent, and who has a good sense of humor.”  Somebody powerful and influential? “I really look more on the characteristics first because it would be totally useless to have somebody who is in power but who has no respect for you at all. So I would do a checklist on his characteristics first.”  Somebody younger than you, older than you or somebody your age?  “Maybe somebody my age or a bit older than me because I would love to learn from him.”  CONTINUE READING...

ALSO: Oscar producer - Chris Rock rewriting his Oscar monologue


JANUARY 24 -In this Feb. 28, 2015, file photo, Chris Rock appears onstage at Comedy Central's "Night of Too Many Stars: America Comes Together for Autism Programs" at the Beacon Theatre in New York. Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File
Academy Awards producer Reginald Hudlin says host Chris Rock is hard at work rewriting his material for next month's Oscar show. Hudlin told "Entertainment Tonight" on Saturday that Rock is eager to host the 88th Academy Awards on Feb. 28, even as a few black celebrities have decided not to attend the show for its lack of diversity. Hudlin said Rock had written a draft for the show, but threw it out and started anew as "things got a little provocative and exciting." He said he expects Rock to make jokes about the OscarsSoWhite hashtag, and that the film academy welcomes such humor. Hudlin said he's confident Rock's material "will deliver something that people will be talking about for weeks." THE FULL REPORT.

ALSO: Wider change in Hollywood sought after Academy reforms


JANUARY 24 -In this Jan. 14, 2016 file photo, John Krasinski, left, and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announce the Academy Awards nominations for best performance by an actor in a leading role at the 88th Academy Awards nomination ceremony in Beverly Hills, Calif. Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File
NEW YORK — The widespread outrage over two straight years of largely white Oscar nominees coalesced behind three damning, viral words: "OscarsSoWhite." The hashtag, which activist April Reign is credited with creating, lent social-media unity to a tide of frustration that on Friday led to diversity reforms announced by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.
Like many others, Reign celebrated the announcement. But only for a moment. "Although we are encouraged by today's news, change must still be made," says Reign, who still plans to rally viewers in boycotting the Feb. 28 broadcast. "The nominees are still the same as they were a week ago." The actions announced Friday by academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs following a unanimous vote by the academy's 51-member Board of Governors were by some measure an uncommonly quick reaction to the crisis that had enveloped the Academy Awards since nominations were announced eight days earlier. But to many of those who have lobbied for change, the academy's announcement was seen as just a beginning: a first step in a growing movement for equal opportunity, on movie sets and award-show stages, in an industry that lags far behind matching the racial, ethnic and gender makeup of its moviegoing public. "I applaud their attempts to do something about it," said Don Cheadle, who was nominated for best actor in 2005 for his performance in "Hotel Rwanda." ''But, again, this is dealing with the symptom, not starting at the root cause of how we even get to results like this, which has to do with inclusion and access and the ability for people of color, women and minorities to get at entry-level positions where you can become someone who can green-light a movie." To infuse an overwhelming white, male and older academy with more diverse members who might be drawn to more varied nominees, the academy's Board of Governors voted to require that member voting status (previously a lifetime honor) be reviewed every 10 years; that the board add three new seats to be filled by Boone Isaacs; and that traditional member recruitment be expanded in a global campaign to boost diversity. The academy's goal is to double the number of women and minorities by 2020, though it hasn't disclosed its current demographic makeup. Those reforms — which the academy boasted were "sweeping" and "historic" — were received by many as necessary updates for an institution that the Los Angeles Times in 2012 found is 94 percent white and 77 percent male. But most who cheered the move emphasized a longer, ongoing struggle. READ MORE...RELATED, Spike Lee lauds academy changes, still plans to skip Oscars...


READ FULL MEDIA REPORTS HERE:

Emotional Pia Wurtzbach reunites with mother in Philippines


SSCREENGRABBED FROM PHILSTAR VIDEO

MANILA, JANUARY 25, 2016 (PHILSTAR)  By Chuck Smith (philstar.com) | Updated January 23, 2016 - Fans and members of the press welcomed Pia Wurtzbach when she arrived in Manila on Saturday for her homecoming.

READ: Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach returns home

But there is one welcome the reigning Miss Universe is probably happiest to receive: the one from her mother, Cheryl Alonzo Tyndall.

A video posted on the official Miss Universe Facebook page shows Pia reunited with her mom at a hotel room in Quezon City.


Newly crowned Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach addresses the crowd upon arrival early Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016 at the Ninoy Aquino International Airport at suburban Pasay City, south of Manila, Philippines. Wurtzbach was crowned Miss Universe on Dec. 20, 2015 but not before pageant host Steve Harvey incorrectly announced Miss Colombia Ariadna Gutierrez as the winner at the Miss Universe pageant in Las Vegas. AP/Bullit Marquez

"So happy this moment was captured. There is no better feeling in the world than coming home to family," Pia said in the Facebook post.

Tyndall is a retired nurse based in London and flew to the Philippines for Pia's Miss Universe homecoming.

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Pia Wurtzbach shares fabulous official Miss Universe photos (philstar.com) | Updated January 23, 2016 - 5:29pm 2 65 googleplus0 1


Pia Wurtzbach impresses netizens with her official Miss Universe photo shoot. Instagram/Miss Universe


MANILA, Philippines - Fabulous.

This is how netizens are describing Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach's first official Miss Universe photos by Fadil Berisha.

IN PHOTOS: 9 stunning photos of Miss Universe Pia Wurtzbach from Manila arrival

On Saturday, the official Miss Universe Facebook page gave a sneak peek of Pia's photo shoot with Berisha, the photographer who shot the official portraits of the candidates of the 64th Miss Universe pageant last year.

Berisha also posted a photo of his shoot with Pia on his Instagram account.

The shoot is perhaps a part of Pia's prize package as the winner of the 64th Miss Universe pageant last month.

One of her prizes is a modeling portfolio by Fadil, whose works have appeared in magazines such as Vogue, Bazaar, Cosmopolitan and Elle.

While this is her official Miss Universe shoot, Pia has done a number of pictorials in the past weeks, including a photo session with the Associated Press.

IN PHOTOS: Pia Wurtzbach elegant in photo shoot as Miss Universe


PHILSTAR

Pia Wurtzbach says she's 'sawi' when it comes to love life By Chuck Smith (philstar.com) | Updated January 24, 2016 - 9:27pm 0 54 googleplus0 0


Newly crowned Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach shows her crown during a news conference Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 in suburban Quezon city, northeast of Manila, Philippines. AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

MANILA, Philippines - She may be the reigning Miss Universe, but Pia Wurtzbach said she is still "sawi" when her love life is concerned.

During her homecoming press conference on Sunday, the 26-year-old beauty queen was asked about a statement she made during one of the pre-taped clips shown during the telecast of the 64th Miss Universe pageant last month.

In the clip, Pia implied that her mother does not know that she has a boyfriend.

"My mother doesn't know, so no," she said in the clip.

"It was nothing, really," Pia said of her statement. "I thought it was something. But it was nothing."

Pia reiterated that she does not have a boyfriend and she didn't have a boyfriend when she was competing in the Miss Universe pageant.

"Although I thought I was seeing somebody but it turns out I wasn't," she clarified.

"Tignan mo, kahit na Miss Universe ka, pwede ka pa ring maging sawi," Pia quipped, adding that she is currently focused in her tasks as Miss Universe.

Gesturing to her crown, Pia said: "This is my boyfriend for now."

Pia was romantically linked to President Benigno Aquino III prior to the pageant, although she has maintained that they are just friends.

In previous interview before the Miss Universe pageant, Pia said that she is single and is focused in competing for the crown.

----------------------------------------

RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Pia Wurtzbach says next dream is to be a Bond girl (Associated Press) | Updated January 24, 2016 - 8:40pm 1 76 googleplus0 0


An emotional newly crowned Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach addresses the media during a news conference at suburban Quezon city northeast of Manila, Philippines Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016. Philstar.com/Efigenio Toledo IV


MANILA, Philippines —More than a month after she won the Miss Universe crown, Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach is finally home.

The 26-year-old beauty queen arrived in the Philippines on Saturday via Philippines Airlines flight PR 538.

"Napakasaya ko po na nakauwi na ulit ako dito sa Pilipinas. Grabe para akong lalaban ulit," she told members of the press

Pia added: "Ayoko po sanang mag-reveal muna ng mga experiences ko. Ise-save ko po ito sa press conference na mangyayari bukas. Kaya sana po pumunta kayo doon.”

Aside from her homecoming press conference tomorrow, Pia will be part of a parade on Monday and a homecoming special on Thursday at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The reigning Miss Universe has her eyes set on her next big dream: being a Bond girl.

Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach returned home to the Philippines for the first time since her crowning — and that awkward moment when host Steve Harvey mistakenly crowned Miss Colombia instead of her.

She says she's using the intense attention she got after that controversy to focus on her causes like fighting HIV and AIDS.

She told a news conference Sunday that she plans to be tested for HIV publicly in New York to encourage other people to be tested.

Asked about her plans after her reign, Wurtzbach replied: "I might be the next Bond girl, who knows? ... That's the next dream."


PHILSTAR

What Pia did on her first day home FUNFARE By Ricky Lo (The Philippine Star) | Updated January 25, 2016 - 12:00am 0 2 googleplus0 0


Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach holds a copy of The STAR during an interview with entertainment editors at the Novotel Hotel in Quezon City yesterday. RICKY LO

MANILA, Philippines - Wearing a blue dress (her “lucky” color) during a one-on-one with The STAR yesterday afternoon before she presided over the general press conference at the ballroom of the Novotel Hotel in Quezon City where she’s billeted for her week-long homecoming, 2015 Miss Universe Pia Alonzo Wurtzbach said that the first thing she did as soon as she arrived was give her mom, Cheryl Alonzo Tindell, a big hug. The mom flew in from England ahead of Pia.

Wearing her sash but not her $300,000 Miss Universe crown, Pia proceeded to talk about the three things that she missed most during her month-long stay in New York after the pageant, which will be her home during her reign, and where she gets the energy for the hectic schedule during her homecoming, including a parade around Metro Manila today; a courtesy call on Pres. Noynoy Aquino in Malacañang Palace and on the House of Representatives; a tribute show at Araneta Coliseum on Thursday, Jan. 28; serving as bridesmaid at the wedding of her friend Pauleen Luna to Vic Sotto on Saturday, Jan. 30; and what she plans to do after her reign.

Here’s the full interview:

What was the first thing that you did upon your arrival last Saturday?

“I didn’t have my phone with me during the ride from the airport to the hotel. But first thing I did as soon as I got to the hotel was hug my mom who arrived (from England) ahead of me. First time that I saw her after the Miss U pageant.”

What did you miss most about the Philippines during the one month you were in New York after you won?

“Three things: the food, the people…it’s so nice to speak in Tagalog…and the weather because it’s so cold in New York. I heard there’s a blizzard now and I’m so glad I’m not there, hehehehe!”

Did you miss someone special?

“No, not really. My mom, maybe.”


Pia in a reunion with best friend Pauleen Luna, shown at right in a loving kiss with her soon-to-be husband Vic Sotto on Eat, Bualaga! last Saturday. Pia will serve as bridesmaid at Pauleen and Vic’s wedding on Saturday, Jan. 30. — From Pauleen’s Instagram

You said in a pre-pageant (Miss U) interview, “My mother doesn’t know about it, so no.” At the Philippine Consulate in New York, you were quoted saying, “Akala ko kami…”

“Hahahaha!!! It wasn’t a boyfriend; it was just somebody I was dating.”

Who was he? Siguro nanghihinayang na siya ngayon.

“Hmmm, nothing serious. Huwag na lang.”

You said that during your one-year reign, ‘yung crown mo ang boyfriend mo. If ever, nakapila ang suitors, what type of man do you prefer?

“Somebody who is smart and intelligent, and who has a good sense of humor.”

Somebody powerful and influential?

“I really look more on the characteristics first because it would be totally useless to have somebody who is in power but who has no respect for you at all. So I would do a checklist on his characteristics first.”

Somebody younger than you, older than you or somebody your age?

“Maybe somebody my age or a bit older than me because I would love to learn from him.”

CONTINUE READING...


The STAR team during the interview with Pia, from left: Ricky Lo, Celso de Guzman Caparas, Jerry Donato and Nathalie Tomada

Hollywood actor James Franco seems to fit the bill?

“Hahahaha!!!”

He congratulated you on social media and his message for you went viral. Did you have regular communication after that?

“No, never. It was just his Instagram post and that was all.”

Would you like to meet him in person?

“Yeah, why not?”

What about K-Pop star Siwon? He also posted a congratulatory message for you.

“Yeah, I saw that. I thought that was really sweet of him.”

How did you feel about it?

“As his fan, I found it very flattering.”

You are traveling around the world. How do you prepare for it?

“I have to find out first where I am going and what time I am arriving there so I won’t get jetlag. That’s something that I want to avoid because I find it very difficult to function when I don’t get enough sleep. So I make sure that I sneak in a few hours of sleep whenever I can. That was the advice of (outgoing Miss Universe) Paulina Vega during her final walk. She said, ‘To the new Miss Universe, get sleep when you can.’ And I never forget it because now that I am Miss Universe, I know what she meant. She was right. So I bear that in mind.”

How much sleep did you get last night?

“Eight hours.”

Traveling can be taxing. Good thing you don’t have fear of flying.

“I used to be very terrified of flying to the point that I couldn’t sleep or eat on the plane. A slight turbulence would make me cry. That was what happened when my good friend Pauleen and I flew to Boracay as a group a few years ago. There was a photo of me in front of her and we were both in tears.”

How did you overcome it?

“I did overcome it very fast, maybe because I have been traveling so often. The advice of my Binibini sister Ara (Arida, 2013 Bb. Pilipinas-Universe and third runner-up in that year’s Miss Universe pageant) was very helpful. She knew that I was a nervous flyer. It may sound weird what she said, ‘Mars, just think that you are commuting on a jeepney traveling on a rough road.’ So if there’s turbulence, I would imagine myself on the ground riding a jeepney, not 37,000 feet up in the sky. It helps, it works!”

Do you carry maybe a rosary or a medal or something that makes you feel safe?

“All the time. I always carry a rosary in my bag, a small Sto. Niño and a lucky charm that I got from a temple in Japan. There are kiosks there where you find all kinds of lucky charm…one for you to pass an exam, one for prosperity, one for a happy marriage and another for safe delivery…and I looked for one that was relevant to what I was aiming for, even before I joined Bb. Pilipinas pageant for the third time. I got a victory lucky charm. On pageant night, I got the lucky charm out of the case and held it tight. And I won! I did the same thing during the Miss Universe pageant, and I won! I still carry it around in my bag. Maybe it’s just in the head but I am the type who believes in lucky charms.”

I wonder, where do you get your energy for your hectic schedule?

“From coffee, hahahaha!!! And I like to talk. It’s natural with me. I like being asked questions. I don’t like to stay in my room with nobody to talk to. I freak out when I wake up and nobody is there. You know, ‘Good morning! Is anybody around?’ Basta, talk to me!”

By the way, how was your life like growing up in Cagayan de Oro?

“It was very simple. It was a normal kind of childhood. My mom was looking after me. I was much closer to my dad at that time. I was a Daddy’s Girl. He would spoil me with Barbie Dolls, but he was a disciplinarian, very strict. He always checked my grades. You know, ‘Line of 80, that cannot be!’ So I was challenged to always do better.”

Your dad must be very happy that you are now Miss Universe?

“Oh, he passed away in 2013.”

Sorry to hear that. How has the Miss Universe crown changed your life so far?

“Not much. I feel the same, except that I have now more followers on my Instagram. Before the Miss Universe, all I had was 155. I checked that before the pageant. When I checked again, I already had 600,000. After I won, one million. Today, 1.6 million already. So I said, ‘Wow!’ Just that. Or maybe, I go around now with security guards. I’m still trying to get used to it.”

Has the way you look at life changed?

“I have to plan past my Miss Universe reign. I don’t want to pass my crown and suffer an identify crisis. You know, ‘What am I going to do now?’ I don’t want that to happen to me.”

So what are your plans?

“It’s been only a month since I won…Oh well, maybe if there are any offers in the US, why not? Yes, in showbiz.”

Or maybe you can resume your showbiz career here.

“Why not?”

On Saturday, Jan. 30, you are attending your friend Pauleen’s wedding. There will be two stars at that event.

“It’s Pauleen’s day, definitely!”

Come to think of it, when you get married, what kind of wedding would you want?

“I haven’t thought about it. But definitely, I don’t want a beach wedding.”

After your reign, will you finally open the door to the long line of suitors waiting for you?

“Ha? I don’t see the line! I don’t see anyone! Where are they? Hahahaha!!!”

You are going back to the US on Sunday, Jan. 31. Anything Filipino (tuyo, etc.) that you are bringing as baon?

“Pictures, memories, inspiration. When you’re away from home, you long to come back and gather new memories to get inspiration. When I leave, I want to bring with me the Filipino fighting spirit. Just because I won already, I will forget that spirit. It will always be with me.”


PHILSTAR

Oscar producer: Rock rewriting Oscar monologue (Associated Press) | Updated January 24, 2016 - 11:54am 0 0 googleplus0 0


In this Feb. 28, 2015, file photo, Chris Rock appears onstage at Comedy Central's "Night of Too Many Stars: America Comes Together for Autism Programs" at the Beacon Theatre in New York. Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File

Academy Awards producer Reginald Hudlin says host Chris Rock is hard at work rewriting his material for next month's Oscar show.

Hudlin told "Entertainment Tonight" on Saturday that Rock is eager to host the 88th Academy Awards on Feb. 28, even as a few black celebrities have decided not to attend the show for its lack of diversity.

Hudlin said Rock had written a draft for the show, but threw it out and started anew as "things got a little provocative and exciting."

He said he expects Rock to make jokes about the OscarsSoWhite hashtag, and that the film academy welcomes such humor.

Hudlin said he's confident Rock's material "will deliver something that people will be talking about for weeks."


PHILSTAR

Wider change in Hollywood sought after Academy reforms By Jake Coyle (Associated Press) | Updated January 24, 2016 - 9:50am 0 0 googleplus0 0


In this Jan. 14, 2016 file photo, John Krasinski, left, and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announce the Academy Awards nominations for best performance by an actor in a leading role at the 88th Academy Awards nomination ceremony in Beverly Hills, Calif. Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP, File

NEW YORK — The widespread outrage over two straight years of largely white Oscar nominees coalesced behind three damning, viral words: "OscarsSoWhite." The hashtag, which activist April Reign is credited with creating, lent social-media unity to a tide of frustration that on Friday led to diversity reforms announced by the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences.

Like many others, Reign celebrated the announcement. But only for a moment.

"Although we are encouraged by today's news, change must still be made," says Reign, who still plans to rally viewers in boycotting the Feb. 28 broadcast. "The nominees are still the same as they were a week ago."

The actions announced Friday by academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs following a unanimous vote by the academy's 51-member Board of Governors were by some measure an uncommonly quick reaction to the crisis that had enveloped the Academy Awards since nominations were announced eight days earlier.

But to many of those who have lobbied for change, the academy's announcement was seen as just a beginning: a first step in a growing movement for equal opportunity, on movie sets and award-show stages, in an industry that lags far behind matching the racial, ethnic and gender makeup of its moviegoing public.

"I applaud their attempts to do something about it," said Don Cheadle, who was nominated for best actor in 2005 for his performance in "Hotel Rwanda." ''But, again, this is dealing with the symptom, not starting at the root cause of how we even get to results like this, which has to do with inclusion and access and the ability for people of color, women and minorities to get at entry-level positions where you can become someone who can green-light a movie."

To infuse an overwhelming white, male and older academy with more diverse members who might be drawn to more varied nominees, the academy's Board of Governors voted to require that member voting status (previously a lifetime honor) be reviewed every 10 years; that the board add three new seats to be filled by Boone Isaacs; and that traditional member recruitment be expanded in a global campaign to boost diversity. The academy's goal is to double the number of women and minorities by 2020, though it hasn't disclosed its current demographic makeup.

Those reforms — which the academy boasted were "sweeping" and "historic" — were received by many as necessary updates for an institution that the Los Angeles Times in 2012 found is 94 percent white and 77 percent male. But most who cheered the move emphasized a longer, ongoing struggle.

READ MORE...

Ava DuVernay, director of last year's best-picture nominee "Selma," called the academy's announcement "one good step in a long complicated journey for people of color and women artists." Chaz Ebert, publisher of RogerEbert.com and wife of the late critic, said, "The academy took the first step. Now let's have the studios, the production companies, agencies, unions and financiers follow suit for diversity." Cameron Bailey, the artistic director of the Toronto International Film Festival — where many Oscar campaigns are launched — praised the academy's "impressive, bold action," but added: "Studios, you're next."

Whether the academy can shift the focus onto the larger industry will be challenging. Thanks to the last two years of nominees, the Oscars have absorbed the lion's share of the spotlight on diversity.

Boone Isaacs, the academy's first African-American president, will also have to contend with the concerns of older members, whose academy membership will flip to "emeritus" status if they're no longer active in the industry at the time of their review. But "active" is an imprecise, potentially fraught term in a Hollywood where even the most successful players can go years without a project getting off the ground.

In an email to membership, Boone Isaacs sought to assure that even "emeritus" members will still receive annual for-your-consideration screeners from studios — usually seen as the most enviable perk of academy membership.

There is historical precedent for Boone Isaac's efforts to change the academy's membership. In the late 1960s, then-president Gregory Peck led a purge of older, inactive members in a bid to make the academy younger and more in touch with a changing culture.

This time, the academy is trying not just to reform itself, but to spur all of the movie industry to greater diversity. Boone Isaacs pointedly signaled that the academy's actions were not sufficient for Hollywood.

"The academy is going to lead," she said in a statement, "and not wait for the industry to catch up."

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RELATED FROM PHILSTAR

Spike Lee lauds academy changes, still plans to skip Oscars By Sandy Cohen (Associated Press) | Updated January 24, 2016 - 10:50am 0 0 googleplus0 0


Spike Lee whose documentary film, "Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to Off the Wall," is included among the documentaries premiering at the 2016 Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah. The festival runs Jan. 21-31, 2016. Kerwin DeVonish/Sundance Institute/Optimum Productions via AP

PARK CITY, Utah — Spike Lee applauds the Academy for making changes to increase diversity in its ranks, but he is still skipping the Oscars.

"We have principles," Lee said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I commend the Academy for what they've done. But that does not change our mind. The Knicks will be victorious — I hope. I'll be at the Garden."

After last week's Oscar nominations revealed an all-white slate of acting nominees for the second consecutive year, Lee said he would skip the Feb. 28 Academy Awards and go to the Knicks game instead.

"My wife and I will be in my courtside seats," he said.

Still, he praised Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and the organization's board of governors for "trying to do the right thing."

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Friday that it would double the number of its female and minority members by 2020 and implemented other changes aimed at increasing diversity among the largely white and male organization.

Lee thinks the changes could help: "It's a start."

The filmmaker is at the Sundance Film Festival this week to premiere his new documentary, "Michael Jackson's Journey from Motown to 'Off the Wall.'"


Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi

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