Diversity concerns to follow Oscars into Sunday

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. (WABC) -- The last time Chris Rock hosted the Oscars, the two actors who won were both African American - Morgan Freeman and Jamie Foxx. However this year, every performer in the running for an award is white.

"The idea is to really underscore people's dissatisfaction with the lack of diversity," said Rev. Al Sharpton.

Rev Sharpton has called on folks to 'tune out' this year's show, and Jada Pinkett Smith promised she would, and so did Spike Lee. Even Sharpton admits all of the controversy could actually boost ratings for Sunday's telecast as folks tune in to see what Chris Rock will say about it.

Sharpton plans to lead a protest near the Dolby Theater on Sunday, saying he has to keep a presence there until change comes.

"Even if the controversy increases, the fact it was the controversy means the issue has to be dealt with," adds Sharpton.

The outcry after the nominations were announced prompted the president of the Academy to say he was heartbroken, and Cheryl Boone Isaacs moved swiftly to diversify the group's membership.

"We have to keep pushing for this inclusion to happen. We must," Isaacs said.

Isaacs has pledged to double the number of female and minority members within four years and no longer will they automatically remain qualified to vote for life.

An Oscar winner who is also an Oscar voter welcomed the changes.

"I feel very encouraged by the changes the Academy has made. What needs to happen, I think is that the kinds of stories that we are being told, that are being green lit, that are being produced. That's where the diversity needs to happen," says Lupita Nyong'o.

However, the editor of the Hollywood Reporter says it is not just the academy that must change.

"The lack of diversity is an industry-wide problem. Nobody disputes. The Academy is just a mirror to that," says Janice Min.

Women as a whole are under-represented, filling less than thirty percent of speaking roles, according to a new study out there by U.S.C.

"And I am so glad it is being brought to the forefront and being discussed, because I think, film needs to reflect our country," says actress Joan Allen.

Three-time Oscar nominee Allen starts in one of the movies up for Best Picture this year - 'Room'.

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Entertainment reporter Sandy Kenyon has the details from Hollywood.

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