The first roster of presenters for the 88th Academy Awards is of a variety very that looks very different from its mostly all-white Oscar ballot.
In what appears to be one of the Academy’s recent attempts at diversifying its program, among the haul they’ve enlisted Benicio Del Toro, who is Puerto Rican, black actors Whoopi Goldberg and Kevin Hart, as well as gay singer Sam Smith and openly bisexual Lady Gaga.
“Each of these artists brings a wonderfully distinctive element to the Oscars stage,” said producers David Hill and Reginald Hudlin. “Together they represent the many thrilling ways stories can be shared about the human experience, and we’re honored they will be part of the celebration.”
Chris Rock is reportedly writing new material to take aim at Hollywood’s lack of opportunities for people of color when he hosts the Feb. 28 program.
The presenters and performers, including past Oscar winners and nominees, are:
Benicio Del Toro
Following the second consecutive year actors of color and their associated films were largely excluded among Oscar nominees, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced historic, sweeping changes designed to “double the number of women and diverse members by 2020” after outrage recently surged on Twitter via the #OscarsSoWhite campaign and stars like Spike Lee, Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and Michael Moore bowing out of the ceremony, citing a lack of diversity in the program and in the industry.