It’s the Oscar controversy that continues to overshadow what should be the industry’s finest hour. Following the announcement of the nominations last week, the Academy came under fire for the lack of diversity among those honored. In fact, it’s the first time since 1995 when there hasn’t been one person of color among the acting nominees. Many have pointed to the Academy’s membership, which is 93% white and 76% male, with an average age of 63, as one of the key factors that serve as a roadblock to a greater range of representation within the Oscar nominees, and it’s a problem Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs hopes to address during her tenure.
“In the last two years, we’ve made greater strides than we ever have in the past toward becoming a more diverse and inclusive organization through admitting new members and more inclusive classes of members,” she told Buzzfeed. “Personally, I would love to see and look forward to seeing a greater cultural diversity among all our nominees in all of our categories.”
That being said, Isaacs does defend the slate of this year’s nominees and notes that even though many feel “Selma” was snubbed, receiving only two Oscar nominations, she notes the Best Picture nod is significant. “It’s an award that showcases the talent of everyone involved in the production of the movie Selma,” she says. “The best picture category is voted on by the entire membership of around 7,000 people.”
And while she hopes the Academy will make changes, she urges moviemakers to do their part too. “It behooves Hollywood — as an economic imperative, if not a moral one — to begin more closely reflecting the changing face of America,” Isaacs said.
However, for some, they see the issue as being much more complex. Actor Gbenga Akinnagbe (“The Wire,” “24: Live Another Day“) stopped by CNN and shared his view that Hollywood’s problem is systemic, and that it’s not unlike the American political system, in which a wealthy class tend to make decisions that reflect their interests.
Check out Akinnagbe’s comments below, along with three new “Selma” TV spots, four new U.K. posters via Empire, and share your thoughts in the comments section.