Academy President Says “We Need To Do More” For Oscars Diversity

After last week's Oscar nominations yielded an all-white slate of acting nominees for the second year in a row, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs is saying that she is "both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion." In a statement posted to Twitter Monday evening Isaacs, the first African American Academy president, explained that the Academy is "taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership," and will "conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond." Isaacs wrote that while the Academy has worked to diversify in recent years, she acknowledged that "the change is not coming as fast as we would like." She said: "We need to do more, and better and more quickly." You can read the full statement below:
Boone's statements come after both Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee announced that they were boycotting the ceremony this year. Lee wrote: "We Cannot Support It And Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy. But, How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White? And Let's Not Even Get Into The Other Branches." This morning, 50 Cent posted an Instagram asking Chris Rock not to host the awards. In her video, however, Pinkett Smith said she could not "think of a better man to do the job at hand than you, my friend." David Oyelowo discussed the Academy's diversity problems Monday night during a gala honoring Isaacs, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Oyelowo's performance in Selma as Martin Luther King, Jr. was snubbed in 2015. Oyelowo said: "This institution doesn’t reflect its president and it doesn’t reflect this room. I am an Academy member and it doesn’t reflect me, and it doesn’t reflect this nation." Still, he offered his "support" for Isaacs. "The Academy is an institution in which they all say radical and timely change cannot happen quickly," Oyelowo said, per THR. "It better happen quickly. The law of this country can change in a matter of months. It better come on. The Oscars is on February 28. Cheryl needs us to pray that by that date, change is going to come. We need to pray for Cheryl, we need to support Cheryl, we need to love Cheryl. We cannot afford to get bitter, we cannot afford to get negative. But we must make our voice heard." The Oscars are schedule to take place Feb. 28.

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