Lambeth-born film director Amma Asante casts her vote for Oscar winners in move to increase diversity

A Lambeth-born director’s vote will help decide the winners at Sunday’s Oscars, as part of a move to improve diversity.

Amma Asante, 47, was inducted into the Academy in June after the #OscarsSoWhite controversy that hit headlines last year concerning the lack of diversity in Oscar-nominated films.

The level of backlash towards the Academy resulted in the induction of 700 new members, of varying ages and ethnic backgrounds.

One of those was Asante, who attended the Barbara Speake stage school in East Acton which bore alumni such as Phil Collins and Naomi Campbell.

Her professional career began with a small TV role in Grange Hill, where Asante was prominently featured in the ‘Just Say No’ campaign.

She broke into the Hollywood scene in 2004 with her directorial debut A Way of Life, which won her the Carl Foreman BAFTA for Special Achievement by a writer/director in a debut film.

Asante won further critical acclaim for her second picture, Belle, in 2013.

Her newest film, A United Kingdom, tells the true story of Prince Seretse Khama of Botswana and his marriage to a white British woman.

The picture premiered at the BFI London Film Festival in November.

This weekend’s Academy Awards have seen the largest number of ethnically diverse nominees in recent years, with Moonlight, Hidden Figures, and Fences receiving Best Picture nominations.

And Viola Davis of Fences is tipped to win Best Supporting Actress.

A Lambeth Film Office spokesman stressed the importance of increasing diversity in film by involving residents in the filming that takes place where they live.

“Traditionally, you couldn’t really get into film unless you were white, middle-class and connected,” she said.

“Lambeth Film Office gives a lot of young, ethnically diverse people the chance to get involved in the filming that goes on right on their doorstop.”

The organisation has helped to launch the film careers of numerous residents, including helping 10 Lambeth residents get positions working on the production of the latest James Bond film, Spectre.

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