Academy President Responds to Oscars Diversity Backlash & The Statement Is Enraging

Hosts Chris Pine and Academy President Cheryl Boone smile during the Academy Awards Nominations Announcement at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater in Beverly Hills, California on January 15, 2015. The 87th Oscars will be held on February 22 at the Dolby Theatre in downtown Hollywood. This year's crop of hotly-tipped movies is heavy on true stories: four of the five films nominated for the best drama award at last weekend's Golden Globes -- many of which could figure on the Oscars best picture shortlist -- were based on real-life events. AFP PHOTO/MARK RALSTON (Photo credit should read MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Source: MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

Amongst the various disappointments that Thursday's Academy Award nominations included, none was more striking or saddening than the lack of diversity amongst the nominees. Although those who were nominated delivered excellent performances in their various projects, it was a disconcerting to see so many deserving, talented performers and projects overlooked this year — and trust me, there were a lot. In fact, there was such a lack of diversity in the Oscar nominations this year, that 2015 is the first year since 1998 that not a single person of color was nominated for an award. That's ridiculous! Surely, the Academy must have something to say about the lack of diversity amongst nominees, right?

Here's where it gets even worse, folks. Turns out, they don't just have nothing to say: But according to a statement made to Vulture from Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs — the first African-American woman to be president of the Academy — they don't even think there was a diversity problem at all.

Not at all. Not at all...The good news is that the wealth of talent is there, and it's being discussed, and it's helpful so much for talent — whether in front of the camera or behind the camera — to have this recognition, to have this period of time where there is a lot of publicity, a lot of chitter-chatter. 

UM.

So, that was literally a non-answer. Like, did the Academy even look at the nominees when they were decided upon? Did Isaacs herself even look at them as she announced them on stage? Because this is the whitest Oscars in 17 years — that statement denying a lack of diversity at all is just not going to cut it.

Sadly, it gets even more enraging from there. When Isaacs was asked about Selma and whether or not she herself expected to see more nominations for the brilliant film, she reportedly said: "Well, it's a terrific motion picture, and that we can never and should not take away from it, the fact that it is a terrific motion picture...there are a lot of terrific motion pictures, it's a very competitive time, and there's a lot of great work that has been done. I am very happy that Selma is included in our eight terrific motion-picture [nominations]."

First of all, that sounds robotic, and second of all, that's not good enough, especially after 2014's Oscar wins included so many deserved nods to non-white actors and actresses. (It is worth noting, as Variety points out, that a study by the LA Times from 2012 determined the Academy voters are "94% white, 77% male and only 14% under the age of 50.") 

Despite the Academy's claims, the backlash to the lack of diversity in the nominations has been thankfully plentiful:

[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/kevinpokeeffe/statuses/555731365292171265]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/Kishori/statuses/555724806805803008]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/ShaunnaLMurphy/statuses/555725303771697152]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/Judnikki/statuses/555725402682179585]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/papertimelady/statuses/555723593355907072]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/mariskreizman/statuses/555723483142189056]
[Twitter Embed: https://twitter.com/jamiekilstein/statuses/555723209761632258]

Seriously, it's 2015. This should not be happening.

Image: Giphy

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