Entertainment & Arts

Oscars head Isaacs calls for more diversity after row

Best film nominees Image copyright Presser
Image caption Selma (top left) missed out in some categories but faces seven others in the Best Film category

The president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts says she would like to see more diversity in Oscar nominations, after a row about this year's nominees.

All 20 contenders in the main acting categories are white and there are no female nominees in the directing or writing categories.

The Academy, which picks the contenders, has faced strong criticism.

But Cheryl Boone Isaacs said she was proud of the nominees and that the body was "making strides" towards diversity.

Ms Boone Isaacs, who is the first African-American president of the Academy, told AP the organisation is "committed to seeking out diversity of voice and opinion''.

Image copyright AP
Image caption Cheryl Boone Isaacs says the film industry needs to do more work on 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 organisation through admitting new members and more inclusive classes of members,'' she said.

She added she would "love to see" greater diversity among the nominees.

'Selma' snub

After the nominees were announced, people mocked the make-up of the awards using the "OscarsSoWhite" hashtag.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Selma was being given a screening at the White House on Friday evening

There has been much focus on Martin Luther King biopic Selma, with director Ava DuVernay and star David Oyelowo both missing out.

At the Critics' Choice award, another Selma actor, Wendell Pierce, said there would be "amazement" Oyelowo was not nominated once people saw the film.

But Ms Boone Isaacs said acclaim for Selma was reflected in its Best Picture nomination, which is chosen by all the academy members.

She said that while the Academy continued to make efforts to become more diverse, the wider industry needed to do the same.

"We hope the film industry will also make strides toward becoming more diverse and inclusive.''

Individual branches of the Academy choose the nominees, with actors choosing the acting categories, for example.

The more than 7,000 members then vote for a winner.

Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel lead the race for this year's Oscars with nine nominations each.

Oscars 2015

9

Academy Award nominations each for Birdman and The Grand Budapest Hotel

  • 19 nominations for Meryl Streep, more than any other actor or actress in history

  • 3 consecutive acting nominations for Bradley Cooper

  • 2 actors who have played the Hulk, Mark Ruffalo and Ed Norton, are up for best supporting actor

More on this story