The Academy's proposed changes to increase diversity in the Oscars prompted swift and positive reaction in Hollywood, with many praising the moves while still noting that the Academy Awards are only part of the problem, and only part of the solution.
Saying that "We need to step this up," president Cheryl Boone Isaacs announced Friday that the academy aims to double the number of female and minority members by 2020, and will immediately diversify its leadership by adding three new seats to its board of governors. The academy now aims for women to comprise 48 percent of its membership and "diverse groups" at least 14 percent as an initial step.
The announcement came amid widespread dismay over a second straight year of all-white acting nominees, a development that has turned this year's awards into a referendum on diversity in the movie industry.
Here are some reactions to the academy's announcement, followed by some highlights on the broader diversity question.
"I applaud their attempts to do something about it, which is great. But again, this is dealing with the symptom, not starting at the root cause of how we even get to results like this, which has to do with inclusion and access and the ability for people of color, women and minorities to get at entry-level positions where you can become someone who can green-light a movie. " - Don Cheadle, a best-actor nominee in 2005 for "Hotel Rwanda," in an interview.
The changes are "one good step in a long, complicated journey for people of color and women artists. Shame is a helluva motivator ... Marginalized artists have advocated for Academy change for DECADES. Actual campaigns. Calls voiced FROM THE STAGE. Deaf ears. Closed minds." - Ava DuVernay, director of last year's Oscar-nominated civil rights drama "Selma" who was passed over herself for a nomination, on Twitter.
"The Academy is certainly getting to work. They are sincere in their efforts. I think this is going to have a really good outcome for the Academy AND the industry. Because the Academy is just a small part of the system. Those who have been frustrated with the procedures need to be patient ... rather than tweet, maybe they can reach out to the Academy and find out how they can assist in the process. Once the dust settles, calmer heads will prevail." -Gil Robertson, president of the African-American Film Critics Association, in an interview.
"Diversity is our greatest strength. I am encouraged that, under the bold leadership of President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is taking important steps to ensure that its voting membership better reflects the range of experiences and perspectives that make cinema such a powerful and indispensable art form." -Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, in a statement.
ON DIVERSITY ISSUE (comments came before announced changes):
"Diversity is the American superpower. That's why we're great." - Will Smith, who said he would not attend the Oscars.
"It goes further than the Academy Awards. It has to go back to the gatekeepers. The people who have the green-light vote. ... We're not in the room. The executives, when they have these green-light meetings quarterly where they look at the scripts, they look who's in it and they decide what we're making and what we're not making." - Spike Lee, one of this year's honorary Oscar recipients, who said he would go to a Knicks game instead of the ceremony.
"Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power. And we are a dignified people and we are powerful." - Jada Pinkett Smith, who said she would not attend or watch the Oscars.
"Diversity in the modern world is more than just skin color. It's gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, social background and - most important of all, as far as I'm concerned - diversity of thought. Because if you have genuine diversity of thought among people making TV and film, then you won't accidentally shut out any of the groups I just mentioned." - Idris Elba, speaking before Parliament in London.
"There should be 20 or 30 or 40 films of the quality that people would consider for the Oscars. By the way, we're talking about African-Americans. For Hispanics, it's even worse. We need to get better at this. We used to be better at it." - George Clooney.
"I am disappointed by the lack of inclusion in this year's Academy Awards nominations. It has me thinking about unconscious prejudice and what merits prestige in our culture. The Awards should not dictate the terms of art in our modern society, but rather be a diverse reflection of the best of what our art has to offer today. I stand with my peers who are calling for change in expanding the stories that are told and recognition of the people who tell them." - Lupita Nyong'o.
"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." - David Oyelowo, star of "Selma," at an event honoring academy president Isaacs.
"We must do a better job of cultivating and recognizing diversity. The film community is better served when a wider array of voices is celebrated." - Chris Dodd, Motion Picture Association of America chairman.
"Be patient. Of course it will come. It took me years to get an Oscar, years." - Michael Caine.
"Maybe the black actors didn't deserve to be in the final stretch." - Current nominee Charlotte Rampling, referring to this year's list.