Sexual misconduct, gender bias in focus at pre-Oscar meet

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Sexual misconduct and the under representation of women in positions of authority -- two of the most raging issues in Hollywood -- remained the focus at the annual Oscar Nominees Luncheon.

On Monday, the Oscar Nominees Luncheon, a ritual ahead of the Academy Awards, saw 170 of this year's 200 nominees congregating at a hotel here to pose for a "class photo", accept their certificates of nomination, listen to speeches from the Academy president and the producers of the Oscar show and mingle with their fellow nominees, TheWrap reported.

The sexual misconduct furore that has wracked Hollywood since the Harvey Weinstein accusations surfaced in last October, was very much discussed.

"The Academy is at the crossroads of tradition and change. We are witnessing the venerable Motion Picture Academy reinventing itself before our very eyes... redefined in a new era of greater awareness and responsibility in balancing gender, race, ethnicity and religion," Academy President John Bailey said in his opening remarks.

"I may be a 75-year-old white male," he added, "but I'm as gratified as any of you that the fossilized bedrock of many of Hollywood's worst abuses (is) being jackhammered into oblivion."

Talking about Jimmy Kimmel, who will host the 90th Academy Awards next month, he said: "We now so need not only his humour, but his moral compass in these trying times."

The nominees gathered together for a memorable photograph.

Oscar show co-producer Jennifer Todd said: "It is our honour to produce the show in a year the nominees are finally starting to reflect the time we live in."

Fifty of this year's 200 nominees are female, which ties a record for the most women ever nominated but isn't a significantly better ratio than usual. But with four African-American acting nominees, the first female cinematography nominee ever, the first openly transgender nominee and Greta Gerwig and Jordan Peele becoming only the fifth woman and the fifth black man to be nominated for Best Director, the class of 2017 is quite diverse by Oscar standards, TheWrap reported.

The Oscars will be held on March 4 at the Dolby Theatre here. It will be aired in India live on Star Movies and Star Movies Select on March 5.

Source: IANS