Academy President Wants To Look Into The Recruiting Process For The Oscars

In the wake of last week’s incredibly white Oscar nominations and the second year of #OscarsSoWhite, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs is taking her frustration and doing her best to turn it into some positive forward movement.

In a statement released by the Academy Monday night, Issacs writes that “Change is not coming as fast as we would like. We need to do more, and better and more quickly.” This doubles down on Isaacs’ statements from last week. She expresses how “heartbroken” and “frustrated” she is about the current state of the Academy and their membership recruitment process, which is clearly not reflective of the audience it’s purporting to serve.

Her full statement, below:

I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees. While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes. The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership. 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.

As many of you know, we have implemented changes to diversify our membership in the last four years. But the change is not coming as fast as we’d like. We need to do more, and better and more quickly.

This isn’t unprecedented for the Academy. In the ’60s and ’70s it was about recruiting younger members to stay vital and relevant. In 2016, the mandate is inclusion in all of its facets: gender, race, ethnicity, and sexual orientation. We recognize the very real concerns of our community, and Iso appreciate all of you who have reached out to me in our effort to move forward together.

Both Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee are calling for a boycott of this year’s Oscars. David Oyelowo, a member of the Academy who was passed over last year for his role in Selma, went off-script at a gala honoring Isaacs on Monday night. “This institution doesn’t reflect its president and it doesn’t reflect this room. I am an Academy member and it doesn’t reflect me, and it doesn’t reflect this nation,” he said. “The Academy has a problem. It’s a problem that needs to be solved.”

He addressed the Academy specifically in his remarks, and urged everyone to support Isaacs in her efforts.

“The Academy is an institution in which they all say radical and timely change cannot happen quickly…he Oscars is on February 28. Cheryl needs us to pray that by that date, change is going to come. We need to pray for Cheryl, we need to support Cheryl, we need to love Cheryl. We cannot afford to get bitter, we cannot afford to get negative. But we must make our voice heard.”