Los Angeles, Jan 19: Responding to the lack of diversity at this year’s Oscars nominations, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has spoken out about her heartbreak and frustration over slow pace of change. It is for the second year that people of colour have been absent from the nominees list in the acting categories, prompting director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith to boycott the February 28 ceremony. In a rare move, Isaacs acknowledged the problems in a statement, saying that though the Academy was taking dramatic steps to alter the make up of its membership, something drastic needed to be done.
“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,” she said in a statement. Isaacs said the Academy will conduct a “review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond”. (Also Read: Four South Asians Filmmakers Score Oscar Noms)
“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,” she said, pointing out that this was not unprecedented for the Academy. “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,” Isaacs noted. One of the most important events in the Hollywood calendar, the Academy awards have incresingly faced criticism for lack of diversity in handing out nominations and awards.