Matt Damon Calls Lack of Oscar Diversity 'Shameful and Embarrassing,' Commends 'Strong First Step'

The Oscar nominee addressed the controversy at Sundance

Photo: Karwai Tang/WireImage

Matt Damon is sharing his opinion on the ongoing controversy surrounding the Oscars after no non-white actors were nominated for any of the major acting categories for this year’s award show. Academy’s institution of new diversity guidelines.

Damon, who joins a slew of other actors that have spoken out about the lack of non-white nominees this year, told Bustle he was “obviously very happy” with the Academy’s new rules, which they created after the #OscarsSoWhite backlash.

“It was shameful and embarrassing that there were two years in a row without a single actor of color nominated,” he said at the Sundance Film Festival in Utah. “That’s insane.”

In order to grow and diversify the Academy’s voting panel, the organization announced on Friday that they’ll launch a “global campaign to recruit new members who they believe “represent greater diversity.”

The Academy is also creating three new governor seats and allowing new members to join the executive board, which weighs in on membership and policy decisions.

“I’m glad that Cheryl Boone Isaacs took some action,” Damon said of the Academy president. “It’s a strong first step. That is all it is, it’s a first step.”

The Best Actor nominee and star of The Martian added, “This is gonna be a very long road. But I’m glad there’s at least a first step.”

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It was also announced over the weekend that comedian Chris Rock won’t be pulling out as host of the Feb. 28 ceremony – despite calls for him to step down.

Rock, 50, has been “hard at work” according to the show producer Reginald Hudlin, and will address the controversy.

“[Rock is] that brilliant, and I have 1000 percent confidence that he will deliver something that people will be talking about for weeks,” Hudlin said.

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