You’d think creating an Oscar-winning animated short film would be enough to showcase commitment to the film industry, but in former NBA start Kobe Bryant’s case, it does not hold true. In 2017, Kobe Bryant and Glen Keane released “Dear Basketball” that won the Academy Award for Best Short Film (animated). Despite this, Bryant will not be granted entry into the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
In the past, most individuals who are nominated for or win an Academy Award are considered for inclusion in the organization, which includes over 8,000 members. Bryant too was considered to be a part of the organization. The Academy’s Short Films and Feature Animation branch voted, and the verdict indicated that he would be awarded entry into the branch.
However, the Academy’s Governors committee had a different say on the matter. They decided to overrule the decision and rescind the invitation, Variety reported. Cartoon Brew was first to report on the matter. The short films branch fought back through governor Bill Kroyer. He argued that Bryant has already expressed a strong desire to work in the realm of short films; however, the committee feels the legendary basketballer needs to provide further evidence of larger career in the film industry before he is allowed to represent it as a member of the organization.
The Academy has been facing a lot of criticism for apparently lowering its standards of entry in terms of professional prowess and instead focusing on diversity and inclusion following the #OscarsSoWhite controversy. Some even argue that some of the most recent invitees are unworthy of the invite. But Bryant’s case is a rather high-profile example that reflects the organization upholding high standards regardless of celebrity.
Of course, Bryant’s name would have been a big one on the list of invitees, but it would also be a controversy in the making in light of the #MeToo movement and Time’s Up initiative. The fire was already lit last year when over 17,000 people signed a petition demanding Bryant be stripped of his Oscar nomination for ‘Dear Basketball’ on grounds of his 2003 sexual assault case. The case was dropped because the accuser refused to testify, but Bryant did settle the matter with a civil suit outside court.
Bryant and Keane ultimately went on to win the award. Columnists called the moment everything from a “controversy” to a “tragedy.”The Academy did not comment on the matter.
The organization’s Board of Governors has final say on who receives the invitations and could theoretically overrule the committee’s decision at its scheduled monthly meeting on Saturday, but it does not seem very likely. The final list will be revealed on Monday.