Academy President Releases Official Statement On The Oscars' Lack Of Diversity

Amid the backlash, Cheryl Boone Isaacs says that she's "heartbroken and frustrated."

20/01/2016 1:37 AM AEDT | Updated 20/01/2016 6:30 AM AEDT

Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has released an official statement regarding the Oscars' lack of diversity. Her statement comes after she addressed the issue last week, admitting that she was "disappointed."

"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," Boone Isaacs says in the statement, which was released on Twitter. "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."

She continues by promising to "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," the statement reads. 

Despite the changes, not a single person of color is nominated for an acting award in either the male or female categories this year -- like last.

Various members of Hollywood have spoken out about the award show's race issue, with stars like Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee leading the conversation. 

On Monday, Pinkett Smith shared a video announcing her boycott of the Oscars. In the clip, the 44-year-old actress called for change, saying that "it's our responsibility now" to make the difference. 

"Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power. And we are a dignified people and we are powerful," she said. "Let's do us, differently." 

Lee announced that he, too, will boycott this year's ceremony. In an Instagram post, the "Chi-Raq" director condemned Hollywood execs for not doing enough to bring diverse stories featuring people of color to the big screen. 

Director Michael Moore announced via Twitter Tuesday morning that he supports both Pinkett Smith and Lee, and will join them in their boycott. He also thanked Boone Isaacs and noted, "I believe the Academy will fix this." 

Actor David Oyelowo, who was notably snubbed for his performance as Martin Luther King Jr. in "Selma" last year, spoke out about the lack of diversity at the Oscars and slammed the award show during a gala honoring Boone Isaacs Monday night.

"The Academy has a problem. It’s a problem that needs to be solved," he said, adding, "For 20 opportunities to celebrate actors of color, actresses of color, to be missed last year is one thing; for that to happen again this year is unforgivable." 

Oyelowo continued, "This institution doesn’t reflect its president and it doesn’t reflect this room. I am an Academy member and it doesn’t reflect me, and it doesn’t reflect this nation."

Fellow British actor, Idris Elba, who many believe should have been nominated for his role in the Netflix film "Beasts of No Nation," has also spoken about the industry's diversity issue in the wake of the Oscars backlash, focusing specifically on television. 

Elba gave a speech in front of members of Parliament and TV execs in the U.K. Monday, during which he called attention to Britain's lack of diversity on TV.

He noted that while Britain is multicultural and diverse, "you wouldn't know it if you turned on the TV." 

He then raised some serious questions about the roles and opportunities given to people of color. 

"Are black people normally playing petty criminals? Are women always the love interest or talking about men?" he asked. "Are gay people always stereotyped? Are disabled people ever seen at all?"

"Let's just get more professional about this whole area," Elba added. "Our economy depends on it. Our future actually depends on it." 

There's still over a month to go before the Oscars air on Feb. 28, and we have no doubts that this conversation will only escalate. 

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