7:19 am EST, January 19, 2016

The Academy issues statement about #OscarsSoWhite

The Oscars are taking heat for, once again, failing to nominate any persons of color in major categories. Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has now issued an official statement.

Yesterday, on Martin Luther King day, two prominent media personalities decided to boycott the Oscars 2016.

Jada Pinkett-Smith and Spike Lee cited the lack of POC nominees as their reason for breaking up with the Academy — this is the second year running that the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag has dominated social media.

On Monday, the Academy issued a statement in response to the mounting critique, written by Cheryl Boone Isaacs:

In the very honest statement, Boone Isaacs admits that she is “both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion.” To combat this issue, “we need to do more, and better and more quickly.”

British Actor David Oyelowo has spoken out about the issue well: The actor, who was incidentally snubbed last year for playing Martin Luther King in Selma, presented his views at a gala honoring Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs on Monday night.

David Oyelowo Selma

“One year ago, I did a film called Selma, and after the Academy Awards, Cheryl invited me to her office to talk about what went wrong then,” Oyelowo said, referring to the fact that his performance was not nominated. “We had a deep and meaningful [conversation]. For 20 opportunities to celebrate actors of color, actresses of color, to be missed last year is one thing; for that to happen again this year is unforgivable.”

Oyelowo went on to say that, although he is a member of the Academy, he does not feel represented by the Hollywood institution. Furthermore, “This institution doesn’t reflect its president” — this being Cheryl Boone Isaacs, whom Oyelowo was on stage to honor.

“The reason why the Oscars are so important is because it is the zenith, it is the epitome, it is the height of celebration of artistic endeavor within the filmmaking community. We grow up aspiring, dreaming, longing to be accepted into that august establishment because it is the height of excellence. I would like to walk away and say it doesn’t matter, but it does, because that acknowledgement changes the trajectory of your life, your career, and the culture of the world we live in.”

“The Academy has a problem,” Oyelowo declared. “It’s a problem that needs to be solved.”

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