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President Obama on #OscarsSoWhite controversy: ‘Are we making sure everybody is getting a fair shot?’

@barackobama via Instagram


President Barack Obama joins a long list of celebrities posing a simple question to Hollywood. “Are we making sure that everybody is getting a fair shot?” Obama told ABC affiliate KABC in Los Angeles, regarding the lack of diversity among this year’s Oscar nominations.

“I think that California is an example of the incredible diversity of this country,” said POTUS. “That’s a strength. I think that when everyone’s story is told then that makes for better art.”

As previously reported, for the second consecutive year, actors of color (and women) were shut out of the nominations. The 2016 Oscars praises a lengthy list of all-White actors and actresses, a reality that has forced stars like Jada Pinkett Smith, Spike Lee and the Rev. Al Sharpton to boycott the annual event altogether.

“It makes for better entertainment, it makes everybody feel part of one American family,” Obama continued. “I think as a whole the industry should do what every other industry should do, which is to look for talent, provide opportunity to everybody.” Adding, “I think the Oscar debate is really just an expression of this broader issue. Are we making sure that everybody is getting a fair shot?”

Hillary Clinton also weighed in on the #OscarsSoWhite conversation, telling, “I think it is overdue. … Just think of the great films that not only display the diversity of America, but the diversity of the human experience. The Academy has to catch up with our reality.”

In response to an overall sense of dissatisfaction with the Academy, the board approved a sweeping series of substantive changes in order to double the number of women and diverse members of the Academy by 2020. Among these changes announced on Thursday, Jan. 21, three new governor seats have been added, which will be elected by the president, with major committees restructured to support that.

Although the initiative will not affect this year’s festivities, word has it the Oscars are looking high and low to recruit Black presenters at the upcoming ceremony, which is set to air live on Sunday, Feb. 28, 2016, on ABC at 7 p.m. EST. Too little too late? Sound off in the comment section below.