The first black president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Friday denied that Hollywood has a diversity problem, describing the dearth of color among nominees as happenstance, the Associated Press reports.
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, responding for the first time to the controversy, told the news outlet that the all-white acting slate inspires her to push the academy to become more inclusive. She also indicated that she hopes the film industry as a whole will continue to strive for greater diversity.
“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 told 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 declaration comes after an uproar over the nonnomination of Selma director Ava DuVernay or lead actor David Oyelowo. Oscar nominations were announced this week.
Boone Isaacs declined to address whether she and the academy were embarrassed by the slate of mostly white Oscar nominees, instead insisting that she’s proud of the nominees, all of whom deserved recognition, the news site notes.
Besides best picture, Selma was nominated for original song—in what was widely considered to be a snub. But Boone Isaacs urged fans not to to be distressed, saying, “It's nominated for the Oscar for best picture. It’s an award that showcases the talent of everyone involved in the production of the movie Selma,” AP writes.
Read more at the Associated Press.