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Oscars 2016: Kevin Hart, Whoopi Goldberg, The Weeknd to take show stage

Oscars 2016: Kevin Hart, Whoopi Goldberg, The Weeknd to take show stage
Kevin Hart attends the 2015 Sprint NBA All-Star Celebrity Game at Madison Square Garden in New York. (Scott Roth / Invision / AP)

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced its first slate of presenters and performers for February's Oscars telecast, a group that includes five artists of color -- Kevin Hart, The Weeknd, Pharrell Williams, Whoopi Goldberg and Benicio del Toro.

Others planning to take the Oscar stage include Tina Fey, Ryan Gosling, Sam Smith, Charlize Theron and Jacob Tremblay.

The announcement Thursday of the diverse group of performers and presenters comes as prominent black Hollywood figures Spike Lee and Will and Jada Pinkett Smith have said they will not attend the show in a protest of this year's all-white slate of acting nominees.

Some activists have also said they plan to encourage audiences to turn away and have asked telecast host Chris Rock to step down.

Last week the academy announced a sweeping series of rule changes designed to add more women and people of color to the organization, accelerating a plan that had already been in the works in an effort to stem the growing controversy.

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