As controversy over the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscars nominations continues to swell, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has issued a statement this evening addressing the issue.
Saying she is “heartbroken and frustrated” over the matter, Isaacs said the Academy is taking “dramatic steps” to improve, and will in the coming weeks review membership recruitment as part of that process. “We need to do more, and better and more quickly,” she said. “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.”
Isaacs’ statement mirrors those made to our own Pete Hammond on the matter last week. “We have got to speed it up,” she said at the time. Since then however, the controversy stemming from the utter lack of nonwhite acting nominees and a near-shut out of nonwhite creators in the other major categories has only become more intense. #OscarsSoWhite, introduced during last year’s identical controversy, is once again trending on the social media platform, this year accompanied by calls for an outright boycott: Jada Pinkett Smith floated the idea last week, and was joined today by director Spike Lee.
Isaacs’ full statement is below.
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. 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. 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.