Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs is “heartbroken and frustrated” by the lack of diversity in this year’s Oscar nominations.
The executive, 66, has spoken out following a backlash over only white actors and actresses being shortlisted for next month’s ceremony and has vowed to make “big changes” to ensure things are different next year.
She said in a statement: “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.”
Cheryl has pledged to “review” membership recruitment in order to bring about more diversity and change things for the better “more quickly.”
She continued: “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.”
Cheryl concluded her statement by thanking those who have drawn attention to the issue.
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.”
Following the controversial nominations list, both Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee have vowed not to attend this year’s Oscars, while host Chris Rock quipped the ceremony should also be known as “the White BET Awards.”