Oscar Insider Tanya Hart
Based in Los Angeles, Hart has covered the coveted celebrity-studded event for over two decades—positing her in rarified air, until late. Though few African Americans have enjoyed this privilege–certainly not as consistently as Hart has–progress is being made.
The ground swell support from #OscarSoWhite has gained so much momentum; the Academy Awards set a record in 2017 for the most African Americans nominated to receive the big prize.
I asked Hart to share her perspective on the Oscars among other things—
Sandra Varner/Talk2SV: From an insider’s perspective, discuss access to the Academy Awards (Oscars) and participation by African American members of the working press core?
Tanya Hart: This is my 23rd year of covering the Oscars. When I started, I was covering for E! Entertainment and one of the few African Americans assigned to it. Ron Brewington from Sheridan Broadcasting was also doing radio during that time. As far as I know, there were the two of us. Fast forward to the last five years or so and our numbers have grown. Plus, there are people of color from other parts of the world who cover the Oscars. The thing about covering it, as press, is to get through the application process which can seem daunting.
Talk2SV: How has Cheryl Boone Isaacs (serving a 2nd term as President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences/Academy Awards/Oscars) succeeded in expanding the numbers of African Americans [within multiple areas] in the relatively short time she’s been at the helm?
Hart: She has worked hard at this post day and night and called in all of the favors owed to her. That is how this town (Los Angeles) works. Her brother, Ashley Boone, was the first powerful black man in the studio system. In 1979, as the president for distribution and marketing at 20th Century Fox, he was the highest-ranking black executive in the industry. He and his sister (Cheryl Boone Isaacs), then senior vice president for publicity at Paramount Pictures, were the first brother and sister ever to serve as governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at the same time. So she had the juice and knew how to go around some of the antiquated rules.
Talk2SV: What are your projections for this year’s Oscar wins?
Hart: It will be interesting–perhaps Barry Jenkins for directing MOONLIGHT, Denzel (Washington) or Viola (Davis) or both (FENCES) in their respective acting categories. I would hope to see one of the women from HIDDEN FIGURES win an Oscar. But I think MANCHESTER BY THE SEA will have its say along with LA LA Land which I really loved.
More about Tanya Hart
She currently hosts “Hollywood Live with Tanya Hart” a daily syndicated radio and online program distributed by American Urban Radio Networks (AURN) on more than 300 affiliate stations nationwide. Additionally, she heads up Tanya Hart Consulting, Incorporated in Hollywood, a multi-media content company that recently produced the national awareness campaign, Act against HIV/AIDS, for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC).
While a student at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, Hart studied with Gerald Lesser, creator of PBS’s “Sesame Street.” During that time Hart was involved with creating the PBS program, “Infinity Factory.” She went on to produce several documentaries for PBS, as well as the syndicated children’s programs “Call It Macaroni” for NBC and “Rebop” for PBS.
Hart’s 1992 BET interview with the late rapper Tupac Shakur was used in the 2003, Oscar-nominated documentary film, “Tupac: Resurrection.” In 2000, Hart partnered with Western Syndication to produce the popular syndicated series, Live from Hollywood, a national talent show and forerunner to American Idol.
She recently appeared on ABC, CNN, HLN, BBC, and “Inside Edition” discussing the film industry, diversity in Hollywood and other entertainment stories. For more information visit http://www.tanya-hart.com and http://www.hartrealtyadvisors.com
About the author
Sandra Varner has had her hands on the pulse of the entertainment industry and lifestyles coverage for decades, staying current, always.
More available at Talk2SV. Link to article http://talk2sv.com/life-style/oscar-insider-tanya-hart/.