Ryan Coogler turned down Oscars membership, saying he doesn’t ‘buy into’ awards

Coogler says he was invited to the Academy and said no, crediting his experience as a college athlete for his decision.

During a new interview, film writer and director Ryan Coogler opened up about declining membership to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the organization that awards the Oscars, back in 2016.

Read More: Chadwick Boseman makes Oscars history

In conversation with The Hollywood Reporter, the 34-year-old said his experience as a college athlete confirmed his belief applying competition to an artform was strange.

“I don’t buy into this versus that, or ‘this movie wasn’t good enough to make this list,'” Coogler said to the outlet.

Acclaimed film writer-director Ryan Coogler said he rejected an invitation to be a member of the Oscar-awarding Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2016. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney)

He continued to share how although he opted out of joining the Academy, he will consider and become a member of other, non-competition organizations.

“I love movies,” said Coogler. “For me, that’s good enough. If I’m going to be a part of organizations, they’re going to be labor unions, where we’re figuring out how to take care of each other’s families and health insurance. But I know that these things bring exposure.”

Read More: Black talent dominates Oscars nominations + full list

Although he doesn’t agree with winners and losers in film, Coogler certainly has his fair share of acclaim and accolades. The first feature he wrote and directed, 2013’s Fruitvale Station, was nominated for over 20 awards and won 13. Two years later, Creed, of which he also served as writer and director, earned a handful of nominations and won several trophies, including NAACP Image Awards for both Outstanding Directing and Outstanding Writing in a Motion Picture.

The filmmaker’s 2018 global hit Black Panther earned over a dozen award nominations. He won Best Director for the Marvel movie, which he co-wrote, from the African-American Film Critics Association.

Read More: NAACP Image Awards 2021: Complete winner’s list

As theGrio reported last month, Coogler recently opened up to Jemele Hill about filming the Black Panther sequel without leading actor Chadwick Boseman, who passed away from colon cancer last August at the age of 43. Appearing as a guest on Hill’s Unbothered podcast, he described how difficult it is to work on the film without his friend.

“I’m still currently going through it,” he shared, according to the report. “One thing that I’ve learned in my short or long time on this Earth is that it’s very difficult to have perspective on something while you’re going through it. This is one of the more profound things that I’ve gone through in my life, having to be a part of keeping this project going without this particular person who is like the glue who held it together.”

50th NAACP Image Awards - Press Room
“Black Panther” creative kin (from left) Winston Duke, Carrie Bernans, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong’o, Chadwick Boseman, Danai Gurira, Sterling K. Brown, Letitia Wright and Ryan Coogler pose for pics after their wins at the 50th NAACP Image Awards at Dolby Theatre in March 2019. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

You have a professional life, you’ve got a personal life,” Coogler told Hill. “Personal life, I’m going to say that when you work in something that you love, those things blend, they come together. I’m trying to find a work-life balance. But I’m not there yet, so this is without a question the hardest thing I’ve had to do in my professional life.”

Coogler maintained that he feels “incredibly motivated that I got to spend time with him. You spend your life hearing about people like him. For this individual, who is an ancestor now, I was there for it. It’s such an incredible privilege that fills you up as much as it knocks you out. So often as Black people, we have to pick up the pieces after loss.”

This article contains additional reporting from theGrio’s Keydra Manns.

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