Oscars Chief: We're Making 'Big Changes'

She responds to black actors' boycott call
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 19, 2016 5:09 AM CST
Updated Jan 19, 2016 6:48 AM CST
Academy Chief: We're Making 'Big Changes'
John Krasinski, left, and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announce the Academy Awards nominations for best performance by an actor on Thursday.   (AP Photo)

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs isn't in a position to boycott the Oscars—but she wants Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee to know that she is "heartbroken and frustrated" by this year's lack of diversity and there are big changes ahead. "This is a difficult but important conversation, and it's time for big changes," she said in a statement Monday night, per the Hollywood Reporter. "The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership," she added, promising a "review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond." Smith and Lee announced their boycott after the Academy released an all-white acting nominee list for the second year in a row.

Boone Isaacs noted that the Academy worked hard to stay relevant by recruiting younger members in the '60s and '70s, and the goal now is "inclusion in all of its facets: gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation." Insiders tell the Wrap that Academy governors and board members received an email Monday asking them to make a push for more diversity in each branch of the organization. In its most recent report on the issue, UCLA's Ralph J. Bunche Center for African-American Studies found that senior management at movie studios is 92% white and 83% male, reports the Los Angeles Times. If black stars stay away from the Oscars, "the image of Hollywood that the academy presents is at stake," researcher Ana-Christina Ramon tells the paper. (The Oscars were recently defended by one perhaps surprising person.)

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