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Oscars 2016: Academy Boss Cheryl Boone Isaacs Responds To Boycott, Vowing To Diversify The Awards

20/01/2016 10:24 GMT | Updated 20/01/2016 10:59 GMT

Academy Awards boss Cheryl Boone Isaacs has vowed to take steps to make the awards show more diverse, following a boycott from some major stars.

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Cheryl published a statement on Twitter, admitting she was “heartbroken” and “frustrated” with the lack of diversity among this year’s Oscars nominees, with all 20 of the nominated actors being white, as was the case last year.

cheryl boone isaacs

Cheryl Boone Isaacs

She said: “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, we have implemented changes to diversify our membership in the latest four years. But the change is not coming as fast as we would like. We need to do more and better and more quickly.”

The lack of racial diversity among this year’s nominees has prompted several stars to call for a boycott of the awards, including directors Spike Lee and Michael Moore, and actress Jada Pinkett-Smith.

Spike Lee voiced his discontent with a lengthy Instagram post, which was accompanied by an image of Martin Luther King.

Explaining his absence, as well as his wife’s, Tonya Lewis Lee, he wrote: “We cannot support it and mean no disrespect to my friends, host Chris Rock and producer Reggie Hudlin, president Isaacs and the Academy.

“But, how is it possible for the 2nd consecutive year all 20 contenders under the actor category are white?”

#OscarsSoWhite... Again. I Would Like To Thank President Cheryl Boone Isaacs And The Board Of Governors Of The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences For Awarding Me an Honorary Oscar This Past November. I Am Most Appreciative. However My Wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee And I Will Not Be Attending The Oscar Ceremony This Coming February. We Cannot Support It And Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy. But, How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White? And Let's Not Even Get Into The Other Branches. 40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can't Act?! WTF!! It's No Coincidence I'm Writing This As We Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday. Dr. King Said "There Comes A Time When One Must Take A Position That Is Neither Safe, Nor Politic, Nor Popular But He Must Take It Because Conscience Tells Him It's Right". For Too Many Years When The Oscars Nominations Are Revealed, My Office Phone Rings Off The Hook With The Media Asking Me My Opinion About The Lack Of African-Americans And This Year Was No Different. For Once, (Maybe) I Would Like The Media To Ask All The White Nominees And Studio Heads How They Feel About Another All White Ballot. If Someone Has Addressed This And I Missed It Then I Stand Mistaken. As I See It, The Academy Awards Is Not Where The "Real" Battle Is. It's In The Executive Office Of The Hollywood Studios And TV And Cable Networks. This Is Where The Gate Keepers Decide What Gets Made And What Gets Jettisoned To "Turnaround" Or Scrap Heap. This Is What's Important. The Gate Keepers. Those With "The Green Light" Vote. As The Great Actor Leslie Odom Jr. Sings And Dances In The Game Changing Broadway Musical HAMILTON, "I WANNA BE IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS". People, The Truth Is We Ain't In Those Rooms And Until Minorities Are, The Oscar Nominees Will Remain Lilly White. (Cont'd)

A photo posted by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on


In 2012, statistics were published in the Los Angeles Times reporting that of those who vote in the Oscars, 90% of the academy members were white, while over 70% were male.

This year’s Oscars, fronted by comedian Chris Rock, will take place on 28 February.

Oscars 2015: 87th Academy Awards

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