Tribute to Director Oz Scott

A Tribute to Director Oz Scott

April 28, 2022 An African American Steering Committee Event

On April 28, the DGA’s African American Steering Committee (AASC) presented a special evening in honor of Director Oz Scott. The event celebrated the DGA Award-nominated industry heavyweight in an insightful evening with notable Directors, Producers, Actors and others who have worked with Scott and have been influenced by his work.

After the audience of DGA members and guests settled into DGA Theater One, the evening began with a welcome from DGA Past President and current Secretary-Treasurer Paris Barclay, who spoke about the integral role the AASC has played in the in the Guild and why the Committee, on this occasion, opted to salute Scott.

 “With a career spanning more than three decades, Oz has embodied the very definition of Director,” said Barclay. “He’s directed feature films, dramatic series, comedy series, movies for television, children’s programming, and even stage productions. Name the format, Oz has been there, done that, and excelled. On a personal note, I’ll just say that there were times – years in fact – where Oz and I were the only black faces in the room. Thanks to all our efforts, the ‘rooms where it happens’ are now rooms that include many more of us – and I thank Oz and all the AASC members for making that a reality.”

Then the audience viewed a retrospective reel about Scott’s work introduced by AASC Director Category Representative/Activities & Events Subcommittee Co-Chair Abdul Malik Abbott. The video, which was narrated by Director Carl Weathers, featured an interview with Scott conducted by Director Anna Maria Horsford. The retrospective reel was followed by video-taped tributes from colleagues and collaborators who were unable to attend that featured Directors Mary Lou Belli, Woodie King Jr. and Michael Pressman, Producers Salim Akil and Mara Brock Akil, Choreographer Aku Kadogo, and Actors Trazana Beverley, Samuel L. Jackson, LaTanya Richardson Jackson, Paula Moss, Craig T. Nelson and CCH Pounder.

Fay Hauser-Price introduced the special guest speakers queuing up to speak about working with Scott and being befriended by him on a wide variety of productions. Stepping to the stage to pay tribute the speakers included Stage Manager Kimberly Sizemore (The Parent ‘Hood), Writer Richard Wesley (Uptown Saturday Night), and Actors Marla Gibbs (The Jeffersons), Mimi Kennedy (Mom) and Garrett Morris (Two Broke Girls), and Scott’s children who are carrying on their dad’s legacy, Director Brittany Scott Smith (A Black Lady Sketch Show) and Production Supervisor Ozzie Scott (The Rookie).

After an introduction by AASC Activities & Events Subcommittee Co-Chair Redelia Shaw, Scott came onstage to engage in an introspective look at his career via a lively and entertaining conversation moderated by Director Salli Richardson-Whitfield (The Gilded Age).

During the discussion when Richardson-Whitfield asked Scott what he wants his legacy to be, he recalled his experience making Bustin’ Loose with Richard Pryor and how the studio became upset because they wanted a ‘balls out’ comedy. “We wanted to really talk about something. Hopefully, everything that you see of mine, you see real people. You see how we are. I was up for an afterschool special when somebody said, ‘It's about a white middle class family. What does Oz know about a white middle class family?’ I said, ‘They should come over for lunch one day.’ I just think that we have to show who we are. We have something to give and I just want to see real people.”

After the discussion, Scott was presented with a commemorative gift from the Committee before everyone adjourned for a post-event reception in the DGA Lobby that included live musical entertainment.

Scott has directed hundreds of television episodes, dozens of stage productions, movies for television and feature films. After establishing himself as a much sought after theater Director in New York, he made his feature film directorial debut with the 1981 comedy, Bustin’ Loose. His other directorial credits include the features Spanish Judges and Home Run Showdown; the movies for television The Family Martinez, Class Cruise and Play'd: A Hip Hop Story; and episodes of classic series such as Northern Exposure, Hill Street Blues, Fame and The Jeffersons; as well as recent multiple episodes of The Last O.G., S.W.A.T., Gotham, CSI: NY and Everybody Hates Chris. Scott also served as Producer Director on Black Lightning, Kingdom Business, Sacrifice and The District. He received a DGA Award nomination for Outstanding Directorial Achievement in Children's Programs for his Disney Channel original movie, The Cheetah Girls.

A DGA member since 1978, Scott has served on the National Board, the Western Directors Council, the Diversity Task Force, the Negotiating Committee, the Television Creative Rights Committee, and he is a former co-chair of the African American Steering Committee. Scott is currently serving on the Special Projects Committee and is Treasurer of the DGA PAC. He joins an esteemed group of leading African American directors previously honored by the AASC including Debbie Allen, Maya Angelou, Paris Barclay, Lee Daniels, Ivan Dixon, Bill Duke, F. Gary Gray, Eric Laneuville, Stan Lathan, Gordon Parks, Sidney Poitier, Gina Prince-Bythewood, Richard Pryor, Michael Schultz, Tim Story and Melvin Van Peebles.

 See video from this event in the gallery below

About the Committee:

The African American Steering Committee (AASC) was born of a desire to address the specific needs of the African-American members of the Directors Guild. One of the primary goals of the Committee is to establish a productive line of communication between African-American members and the creative community. The Committee meets monthly to plan events throughout the year celebrating the achievements of African-Americans, as well as forums with industry executives to proactively address what can be done to hire more African-Americans.

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