Sir Ian McKellen
Sir Ian McKellen poses at a photocall to launch 'BFI Presents Shakespeare On Film' at BFI Southbank on January 25, 2016 in London, England.Getty Images

British actor Ian McKellen from 'The Lord of the Rings' trilogy has offered his support to the ongoing Oscars' diversity row. McKellen has said the claims made by fellow actors, like Will Smith and his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, are "legitimate".

"I think you have to live in Hollywood, where the Oscars mean so much more than they do elsewhere, to understand why people's feelings are running so high," said McKellen. "And the fact that black people feel under-represented in studio movies and big movies, well, it's what women thought for a long time, it's what gay people like myself still think."

McKellen, 76, further said he deeply felt for all those who have voiced their concerns in favour of minority groups being under represented in the Oscars. "It's a legitimate complaint and the Oscars has become the focus of those worries, so I sympathise," said McKellen.

Other possible actors who might be skipping out on Oscars 2016, include Mark Ruffalo, who has been nominated for his role in the drama 'Spotlight'. Speaking to BBC News, Ruffalo said: "I'm weighing it, that's where I'm at right now ... I woke up in the morning thinking, 'What is the right way to do this?' Because if you look at Martin Luther King's legacy, what he was saying was that the good people who don't act are much worse than the wrongdoers who are purposefully not acting and don't know the right way."

Meanwhile, after the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite washed all over social media following the Oscars 2016 nominations, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences announced on 22 January that the number of women and people from minority groups will be doubled amongst its members.

"The Academy for the past three or four years – even before then – (we are) definitely more committed in the past three or four years to diversifying our membership, and including people, all sorts of people, young, international, African American, Latino, females, women all across the board. That has been a goal of ours for a while, so it's not that it's really new, but now we have come out and actually are speaking about it," said president Cheryl Boone Isaacs when she faced media at the Producers Guild Awards.