*The lack of diversity regarding this year’s Oscar nominations has become the hot topic as of late, a fact that Cheryl Boone-Isaacs is not blind to.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president responded to all the criticism as she mentioned to the Associated Press how the situation has inspired her to push for more diversity with the Academy.
“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,” Boone-Isaacs, the Academy’s first black president, told the AP. “And, personally, I would love to see and look forward to see a greater cultural diversity among all our nominees in all of our categories.”
The Oscar nominations for this year marks the first time in 20 years that no person of color was nominated in the acting categories. In addition to people of color, the Academy failed to recognize women with nominations in the writing and directing categories.
Since Oscar nominations were announced last week, the Academy has been severely criticized by the public for an apparent white-washing of the nominations. So much so that the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag started trending on Twitter soon after nominees were made known as a way of highlighting the importance of race and gender diversity in the film industry.
Despite the negative feedback, Boone-Isaacs expressed how proud she was of all the nominees. In her eyes, all of the people nominated deserved the recognition. In addition, the AP noted that Boone-Isaacs repeatedly stressed that the Academy Awards are competitive while emphasizing that the civil rights film, “Selma,” did receive a nomination despite its director, Ava DuVernay, being snubbed.
“What is important not to lose sight of is that Selma, which is a fantastic motion picture, was nominated for best picture this year, and the best picture category is voted on by the entire membership of around 7,000 people,” Boone Isaacs said.
Overall, Boone-Isaacs mentioned the importance of diversity in filmmaking as she stressed that the Academy’s 17 branches would work to make diversity outreach a top priority.
“This is a membership organization, so we are all involved in this discussion and moving the subject of diversity forward,” she said. “It’s very important for us to continue to make strides to increase our membership and the recognition of talent. It matters that we pay attention to, again, the diversity of voice and opinion and experience, and that it doesn’t slide, it doesn’t slide anywhere except for forward.”