Cheryl Boone Isaacs says 2017 Oscars proof 'art has no borders'

The academy president spoke out year after lack of diversity backlash.

ByABC News
February 26, 2017, 9:25 PM

— -- One year after the backlash the academy faced over the lack of diversity among the major nominees, the 2017 Oscars are vastly different.

With nominees from films like "Fences," "Hidden Figures," "Moonlight" and more, academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs took the stage to address the change, giving a heartfelt speech about diversity and the arts.

She said that after last year's backlash, the global community in film is "one that is becoming more inclusive and diverse with each passing day."

"Tonight is proof that art has no borders, no single language and does not belong to a single faith," she continued. "The power of art is that it transcends all these things."

She added that no matter where the filmmakers or the subjects come from, they all "speak to the human condition."

Isaacs closed with, "That is the magic of the movies and that is what we celebrate tonight."

The current academy president also spoke about how, for the first time in three years, an actor of color has been nominated in each of the four top acting categories.

"It just so happened that this year we had an abundance of films that represented inclusion, which is something that we are, of course, very much a part of," Isaacs said to reporters. "Our initiative, of course, has been centered around our membership and our governance."

ABC News also spoke to April Reign, activist and creator of the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, which began two years ago and is about all the underrepresentation in the nominated arts.

"This year’s slate of Oscar nominees highlights that, when given the opportunity, films that reflect the diversity of this country will shine," Reign said. "Nevertheless, one year does not make up for over 80 years of under-representation of all genders, sexual orientations, races, abilities and First Nation status. #OscarsSoWhite is about the inclusion of all marginalized communities, both in front of and behind the camera, throughout the entertainment industry."

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