Academy president ‘heartbroken’ over lack of diversity in Oscars

Los Angeles, Jan 19 (IANS) Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone Isaacs is “heartbroken and frustrated” following days of backlash over diversity in the 2016 Oscar nominees. She says the Academy will take “dramatic steps” to alter the make-up of its membership.

“I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees. 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,” Isaacs said in a statement, reports variety.com.

“The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the make-up 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,” she added.

Isaacs said that though the Academy has “implemented changes to diversify our membership in the last four years”, 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 1960s and 1970s 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 recognise 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,” she said.

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

The 88th Academy Awards will take place on February 28.

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