Obama: Oscars diversity call is part of broader issue

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Movie-fan-in-chief Barack Obama is calling on the film industry to ramp up diversity in an interview about the lack of Oscar nominations for minority actors.

“As a whole, the industry should do what every other industry should do, which is to look for talent and provide opportunity to everybody,” the President told CNN affiliate KABC in a White House interview. “And I think the Oscar debate is really just an expression of this broader issue of are we making sure that everybody is getting a fair shot?”

When Oscar nominations came out this month, complaints were quick to follow that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences had failed to nominate any minorities for any of the four acting categories.

It was the second straight year all of the nominees were white.

The academy has long faced criticism that most of its voting members are white men. Protesters complained about racism in Hollywood outside the 1996 Oscar ceremony.

And this year’s slate of nominations led to calls for a boycott of the Oscar ceremony.

For his part, Obama says diversity in the arts is good business. It also has an important role to play in American society, he said.

“I think that when everybody’s story is told, then that makes for better art; it makes for better entertainment; it makes everybody feel part of one American family,” Obama said.

By Michael Pearson

CNN’s Brandon Griggs contributed to this report.