With #OscarsSoWhite trending after the nominees were revealed, the Academy’s first black president has addressed the award’s lack of diversity.
When this year’s Academy Award nominations were announced on Thursday morning one thing which stuck out for many observers was the lack of diversity amongt the nominees. All 20 of this year's acting contenders are white, while there are no women nominated in the directing or writing categories.
The Academy's president Cheryl Boone Isaacs
But speaking to the Associated Press, Cheryl Boone Isaacs’, the Academy’s first black president, said The Oscars were "committed to seeking out diversity of voice and opinion" and that outreaching to more diverse artists is a major focus.
"In the last two years, we've made greater strides than we ever have in the past toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive organisation through admitting new members and more inclusive classes of members," Boone Isaacs said. "And, personally, I would love to see and look forward to see a greater cultural diversity among all our nominees in all of our categories.”
Despite receiving a Best Picture nomination, many felt that Selma was unfairly snubbed by the Academy as director Ava DuVernay and star David Oyelowo both lost out on nominations.
Speaking about Selma’s lack of nods Boone Isaacs said, "What is important not to lose sight of is that Selma, which is a fantastic motion picture, was nominated for best picture this year, and the best picture category is voted on by the entire membership of around 7,000 people.”
In a 2012 survey by the Los Angeles Times the academy was found to be 94 percent white, overwhelmingly male and with a median age of 62. But Boone Isaacs’ has assured that the academy’s membership will continue to celebrate diversity.
Many felt Selma deserved more nominations
”This is a membership organisation, so we are all involved in this discussion and moving the subject of diversity forward," she said. "It's very important for us to continue to make strides to increase our membership and the recognition of talent."
After the nominations were revealed The Asian Pacific American Media Coalition issued a statement saying the responsibility for diversity in film should be industry-wide.
"It behooves Hollywood - as an economic imperative, if not a moral one - to begin more closely reflecting the changing face of America," the statement said.
Boone Isaacs agrees with the coalition's statement saying that it is important the Academy "continues to make strides toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive organisation." Adding that "We hope the film industry will also make strides toward becoming more diverse and inclusive."
"It matters that we pay attention to, again, the diversity of voice and opinion and experience, and that it doesn't slide. It doesn't slide anywhere except for forward and maybe this year is more just about let's kick it in even more,” Boone Isaacs’ concluded.