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Arts and Entertainment

Obama Responds To Oscars Controversy: Diversity 'Makes For Better Art'

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This year's Oscar nominations have garnered so much backlash and the backlash to that backlash that even the Commander-in-Chief has finally weighed in.

In an interview with ABC 7, President Barack Obama was asked for his thoughts on the #OscarsSoWhite controversy, which arose after the Oscars had all-white acting nominations for the second year in a row.

Obama responded:

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I think that California is an example of the incredible diversity of this country. That's a strength 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. I think as a whole, the industry should do what every other industry should do, which is to look for talent, and provide opportunity to everybody. 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?

The President's senior advisor, Valerie Jarett, said his thoughts on the Oscars reflected his general thoughts on equality and diversity in America. "The President from day one has really fought to insure that everybody has an equal opportunity to compete and achieve their dreams," Jarett told ABC 7. "So thinking about how we approach diversity and inclusion in our country is something everyone should do."In response to the controversy, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences made sweeping changes in an effort to diversify their membership and leadership. The rules would also affect who votes on future Oscars (though not next month's awards).

And if you were curious, Obama said his favorite movie from last year was The Martian, which is up for seven nominations including Best Picture and Best Actor (Matt Damon).

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