In explaining how that came to be, many Hollywood observers have pointed to a 2012 Los Angeles Times investigation that found that 94% of the academy voters were white.
"We have increased the diversity with the inclusion of new members, and we are going to continue on this road. It's very important to me," academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs said after she was first elected in 2013.
In 2013, the academy invited 276 new people to join the organization, which had 6,028 members at the time. Of the 37 actors and directors invited to join the voting ranks that year, nearly half (48.65%) were people of color. However, the combined incoming voter classes of both 2012 and 2013 only brought the overall percentage of white academy members down a single percentage point, to 93%.
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According to the academy website, new members must first be sponsored by two existing members. A member can only sponsor one person for membership per year.
Each "branch" of the academy has different criteria. For actors, being nominated for an Oscar automatically makes you eligible to become a member -- so when all the nominees are white, it further reinforces the overall whiteness of the academy.
"I am both heartbroken and frustrated by the lack of inclusion," the statement read. "As many of you know, we have implemented changes to diversify our membership over the last four years. But the change is not coming as fast as we would like."
In response to #OscarsSoWhite, Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee put out public statements announcing they would not be attending this year's Oscars.
Follow Jessica Roy on Twitter @jessica_roy.