Three years ago, Cheryl Boone Isaacs became the first black woman appointed president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. And this year’s Oscar nominations, which lack ethnic diversity, aren’t sitting well with her, especially with big names like Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee calling for a boycott of the award ceremony.
Isaacs said that she’s “heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion” in a statement released Monday night. And she says it’s time for a change.
“The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership,” Isaacs said. “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.”
Isaacs did, once again, acknowledge that change isn’t going to happen overnight, and it’s not happening as fast as she’d like. But the academy realizes that it needs to work faster and do more.
“In 2016, the mandate is inclusion in all of its facets: gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation,” Isaacs stated regarding the membership process. “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.”
And of course the academy has a membership problem. When the majority of your members are old white men, they won’t understand movies like Beasts of No Nation, but they will sit through a movie like The Revenant and throw it all the nominations they can muster. They’ll leave out Ryan Coogler in the best director category for Creed, only to nominate Sylvester Stallone for an Oscar for the same movie.
#OscarsSoWhite is truly because its members are so white and male.