Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs poses for a portrait inside the The Samuel Goldwyn theatre at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills, California February 19, 2014. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni
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When Cheryl Boone Isaacs presides over the Oscars on March 2, her mere presence will convey a statement on diversity in Hollywood as the first African-American president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and its third woman in its 86 years.But as the head of a body that takes knocks every year at Oscar voting time for a 6,000-plus membership that is overwhelmingly white, mostly male and older, Boone Isaacs offers no quick fixes for diversifying the academy or the industry.Experience tells her it's a long haul and it comes down ultimately to proving excellence in the motion picture industry. If "12 Years a Slave," the slavery drama from British director Steve McQueen, wins Best Picture, it would be the first time that a black director's film has taken the top Oscar.Boone Isaacs has broken through some barriers herself.At Paramount Pictures, she orchestrated campaigns for Best Picture winners "Forrest Gump" and "Braveheart," and she later became president of theatrical marketing at New Line Cinema.
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