×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Academy President ‘Heartbroken and Frustrated’ Over Lack of Diversity in Oscars

Following days of backlash after the Academy unveiled an all-white roster of acting nominees for the 2016 Oscars last Thursday, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs released a statement Monday night addressing the controversy, and detailing an effort to help fix the issue.

“I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees,” she wrote. “While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes. The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership.  In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.”

“As many of you know, we have implemented changes to diversify our membership in the last four years,” she went on. “But the change is not coming as fast as we would like. We need to do more, and better and more quickly. This isn’t unprecedented for the Academy. In the ‘60s and ‘70s it was about recruiting younger members to stay vital and relevant. In 2016, the mandate is inclusion in all of its facets: gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We recognize the very real concerns of our community, and I so appreciate all of you who have reached out to me in our effort to move forward together.”

Popular on Variety

The statement comes the same day that Spike Lee called for a boycott of the Oscars because of the lack of inclusion, after Jada Pinkett Smith (whose husband Will Smith was shut out for his performance in “Concussion”) also publicly called for action.

This is the second year in a row that the Academy has failed to nominate an actor of color for the Oscars. Many expected Smith’s performance in “Concussion,” Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson’s roles in “Creed,” Idris Elba in “Beasts of No Nation” and/or any of the actors from “Straight Out of Compton” to be singled out for nods, but instead, all-white actresses and actors were nominated.

“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?,” “Chi-Raq” director Lee wrote on his Instagram page Monday morning.

Despite the controversy, Academy members remained mum up until Isaacs’ statement. Even host Chris Rock commented on the lack of diversity, calling the Oscars “the White BET Awards” on Twitter.

The 88th Academy Awards will take place on Feb. 28 and air live on ABC.

More Film

  • Cats Movie

    'Cats' Producers Respond to Twitter Trailer Backlash

    The producers of “Cats” have seen the memes and read the mean tweets that greeted the first trailer for the big screen adaptation of Andrew Lloyd Webber’s stage smash. When the initial teaser was launched this past summer, social media commentators feasted on the way that an A-list cast that includes Taylor Swift, Idris Elba, [...]

  • Carol Titleman dead

    Lucasfilm Exec Carol Titelman Dies at 73

    Carol Wikarska Titelman, director of publications during the early days of Lucasfilm, died on Dec. 7 in her New York apartment. She was 73. Titelman died following complications with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a statement released on her behalf. Titelman began her career at Lucasfilm answering phones in the months before “Star Wars: Episode IV [...]

  • SHAZAM

    'Shazam! 2' Gets Release Date as 'Sesame Street' Live-Action Film Moves to 2022

    Warner Bros. has moved back its live-action “Sesame Street” movie six months to Jan 15, 2022, and set an April 1, 2022, release date for its “Shazam! 2” sequel. “Portlandia” director and co-creator Jonathan Krisel will helm the “Sesame Street” musical, co-financed by Warner Bros. and MGM. Shawn Levy is producing with Michael Aguilar. Mike Rosolio [...]

  • Uncut Gems

    Listen: Adam Sandler Wore $400,000 Worth of Diamonds and Gold in 'Uncut Gems'

    Adam Sandler may not have received a Golden Globe or SAG Awards nomination for his work in “Uncut Gems,” but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t have a shot at the Oscars. It will be a tough road to get there, but despite some snubs, the National Board of Review named Sandler the year’s best actor [...]

  • Chinonye Chukwu Clemency

    Chinonye Chukwu on Golden Globes of Female Directors Shutout

    “Clemency” writer-director Chinonye Chukwu is weighing in on the HFPA’s failure to nominated a female director for the 2020 Golden Globes. “It’s part of the systemic oppressions that we’re all apart of and that’s internalized in many,” Chukwu told Variety in response to Monday morning’s announcement. “We need to get people in positions of power who [...]

  • Brad Pitt Dede Gardner Jeremy Kleiner

    Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner to Receive Producers Guild Honor

    The Producers Guild of America will honor Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner and Jeremy Kleiner of Plan B with the David O. Selznick Achievement Award. They will accept the honor at the 31st Annual Producers Guild Awards on Jan. 18 at the Hollywood Palladium in Los Angeles. Previous recipients include Steven Spielberg, Barbara Broccoli, Saul Zaentz, [...]

  • Little Women BTS

    Golden Globes' Snub of Women Directors Has Depressing Implications (Column)

    It was a schizophrenic, bad news, good news kind of week for women in Hollywood. To quote Natalie Portman at the 2018 Golden Globe Awards ceremony, “And here are all the male nominees.” Yep, once again, the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn. failed to nominate any female directors, as we disappointingly learned when the contenders for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content