The First Group of 2016 Oscar Presenters Is More Diverse Than You'd Think | NBC4 Washington

The First Group of 2016 Oscar Presenters Is More Diverse Than You'd Think

Producers behind the Academy Awards announced the fresh batch of celebrities Thursday.



    Carlo Allegri/Invision/AP
    Whoopi Goldberg will be among those presenting at the 2016 Academy Awards.

    After facing backlash surrounding the lack of diversity in this year's Oscar nominee pool, producers of the Academy Awards ceremony have announced the first batch of presenters slated to hand out golden statues on Feb. 28. – and the group is as diverse as it is talented. 

    The handpicked group of stars ranges in age, ethnicity, race and gender – a seemingly subtle response to the outrage of the industry's loudest critics. The third Puerto Rican winner in Oscar history, Benicio Del Toro, is scheduled to take the stage as well as 9-year-old "Room" breakout star Jacob Tremblay and first-time Oscar nominee Lady Gaga.

    Comedians Tina Fey and Kevin Hart will also pop up in the ceremony while Sam Smith, Pharrell Williams and The Weeknd will represent their musical contemporaries.

    Rounding out the list, Oscar winner Charlize Theron, Ryan Gosling and Hollywood veteran Whoopi Goldberg are all set to appear at the microphone.

    "Each of these artists brings a wonderfully distinctive element to the Oscars stage," producers David Hill and Reginald Huldin said in a statement. "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."

    The announcement comes just a day after President Barack Obama weighed in on the controversy, urging the importance of diversity for the sake of a better craft and country.

    "I think when everybody's story is told, then that makes for better art," Obama told reporters on Wednesday. "That makes for better entertainment. It makes everybody feel part of one American family. So I think, as a whole, the industry should do what every other industry should do, which is to look for talent, provide opportunity to everybody."

    In addition to this fresh batch of presenters, the Academy also announced a list of new changes, additions and limitations within the organization to diversify the group of voters for years to come as a result of the uproar.

    PHOTOS: Celebrities Discuss Diversity in Hollywood

    READ: Whoopi Goldberg Explains on The View Why BET and Black History Month Matter: We're Not All Treated Like Americans