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Oscars diversity won’t change overnight

British film director Amma Asante says the organisers of the Oscars need to keep up the momentum on its actions to improve diversity.

Asante was one of the 683 industry figures invited this summer to become Oscar voters.

Almost half were women and almost as many were people of colour.

“It’s up to us to vote now,” Asante said. “I don’t know the change happens overnight.”

The move by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences came in response to criticism of a lack of diversity at this year’s awards ceremony.

“I think it’s making headway,” said Asante. “It’s got to keep up the momentum. I’m interested to see what will happen in two Oscars’ time.

“I definitely want to see change with this first one and then I want to see that we’ve fully turned a corner by the time we get to the second one.”

Asante was speaking to BBC News at the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) where her film A United Kingdom had its world premiere.

Her previous films, A Way of Life (2004) and Belle (2013), both premiered in the Canadian city.

Asante said the lack of opportunity in the industry meant talent was being lost.

“Not all talent can afford to say, ‘I’ll just wait another three years and continue to have my work rejected’.

“While we’re forcing people into other lines of work, because there is no opportunity for them, the industry is actually suffering.”

A United Kingdom stars David Oyelowo and Rosamund Pike in the true story of a controversial interracial marriage between an African royal and a British woman in the 1940s.

The film will open the London Film Festival next month.

Amma Asante

Amma Asante


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