The Academy Promises to Address Lack of Diversity in the Oscars

January 19, 2016, 4:05 PM UTC
88th Oscars Nominations Announcement
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 14: Actor John Krasinski (L) and President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Cheryl Boone Isaac announce the nominees during the 88th Oscars Nominations Announcement at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on January 14, 2016 in Los Angeles, California.(Photo by Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)
Photograph by Jeffrey Mayer — WireImage via Getty Images

Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences President Cheryl Boone Isaacs released a statement on Monday addressing the diversity issue at this year’s Oscars.

For the second year in a row, all 20 nominees in acting categories are white. All director nominees are white as well, with the exception of Alejandro G. Iñárritu, who’s from Mexico. The very noticeable lack of diversity has revived the social media hashtag #OscarsSoWhite and compelled Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith to boycott this year’s ceremony. Entertainment Weekly reports that, in response to all this, Boone Isaacs has assured that the Academy will take “dramatic steps” to become more diverse.

In 2012, the Academy’s demographics are “markedly less diverse than the moviegoing public,” according to a study conducted by the Los Angeles Times. About 94% of Academy voters were white, about 2% were black, and less than 2% were Hispanic. Boone Isaacs promises that the Academy’s membership recruitment will be reviewed “in order to bring about much needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.”

She compared this issue to one addressed in the 1960s and 1970s, when the Academy worked on recruiting younger members, which isn’t very promising considering the same Times study showed that the median age of Academy voters was 62, while just 14% were younger than 50 years old.