Obama on Hollywood diversity: ‘Are we making sure everybody is getting a fair shot?’

US President weighs in on the debate about diversity in the film industry

US President Barack Obama has weighed in on the debate about diversity in the film industry, encouraging Hollywood to make sure “everybody is getting a fair shot”.

Acclaimed N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton was surprisingly omitted from the Oscars’ Best Picture shortlist and for the second consecutive year, all 20 acting nominees for the Academy Awards are white.

High-profile members of the film industry including Spike Lee, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith have since announced that they will be boycotting next month’s ceremony in protest against what has been dubbed “#OscarsSoWhite” on Twitter.

“I think that California is an example of the incredible diversity of this country. That’s a strength,” Obama told journalists at the White House yesterday, The Guardian reports. “I think that when everyone’s story is told … that makes for better art.”

The President continued: “It makes for better entertainment; it makes everybody feel part of one American family, so 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. And 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?”

Meanwhile, Whoopi Goldberg has recently shared her thoughts on the ongoing #OscarsSoWhite controversy, arguing that the Academy Awards cannot be “that racist” because she herself has won one.