Oscar nominees respond to lack of diversity

Will and Jada Pinkett Smith are two of many celebrity endorsers of an Oscars boycott, due to lack of diversity in the nominations. (Steve Granitz/WireImages/Getty Images)

The 88th annual Oscars are on the horizon and the Academy is under high scrutiny leading up to the event by the #OscarsSoWhite controversy.

For the second year in a row, there were no people of color nominated in any of the major categories and it has sprung a resistance among fellow actors who have boycotted the event publicly.

The likes of Will and Jada Pinkett Smith, and Spike Lee will not be in attendance after finding out the lack of diversity in the nominations. On Monday, Sylvester Stallone said he was willing to boycott this year’s Academy Awards if his “Creed” director Ryan Coogler thought it was a good idea.

Coogler and Stallone’s “Creed co-star, Michael B. Jordan, also didn’t receive nominations. Others include Smith, for his work in “Concussion and Idris Elba for “Beasts of No Nation.”

The Academy has responded to the controversy by making new voting rules after an emergency meeting was held just a week after the nominations. These changes were implemented in an effort to make the voting more inclusive and in their press release, the organization announced its goal to double the number of women and “diverse members” by 2020.

The biggest change is a new rule stating that new members will be eligible to vote for nominees for a period of 10 years. The eligibility will be renewed as long as they have been active in movies during that time. If a member has not been active in movies in the past decade, he or she will transition to emeritus status and will no longer be eligible to vote for nominees.

The second change is on increasing the diversity of the Academy itself. According to a study done in 2012, 94 percent of its members are white. Cheryl Boone Isaacs, a public relations executive for the Academy, is planning to introduce a global campaign to identify and recruit qualified new members who represent greater diversity.

Although overshadowed by controversy, there is an outstanding list of nominees going up for best picture including: “The Revenant,” “Mad Max,” “The Big Short,” “Bridge of Spies,” “Brooklyn,” “The Room,” “Spotlight,” and “The Martian.”

Leanardo DiCaprio is the front runner for Best Actor in a Leading Role and this might finally be the year he takes home the gold. His biggest competitors are Michael Fassbender for his role in “Jobs” and Matt Damon in “The Martian.”

The most notable actresses nominated in the leading role category are Jennifer Lawrence in “Joy” and Cate Blanchett for her performance in “Carol.”