Bette Midler has waded into the 'Oscars So White' debate with a poignant tweet in which she also appears to take a pot shot at Best Actor nominee Leonardo DiCaprio, to underline her point. Tweeting just hours ahead of the 88th Academy Awards she wrote: "The Oscars are today! You know, the awards show where Leonardo DiCaprio is "overdue" but black people can "wait till next year."
The 70-year-old is one of several stars to express their disappointment at the complete absence of nominations for black and ethnic minority actors in this year's awards.
Midler's annoyance appears to also have been motivated by the disproportionate focus on the apparent snub to Leonardo DiCaprio, who has so far, famously missed out on the coveted award despite receiving six nominations.
The 41-year-old has repeatedly walked away from the annual Academy Awards empty handed, but for his sixth nomination for his role in The Revenant, he is favourite to win Best Actor. But with six nominations under his belt, there is no disputing that he has fared better than those actors, actresses and filmmakers from non-white communities, who have been entirely excluded from the nominations for the second year running.
The lack of diversity is a point of contention and will undoubtedly be addressed during the event hosted by comedian Chris Rock. Hollywood stars Jada Pinkett Smith and her husband Will Smith were among several A list stars to make a pledge to boycott the Academy awards in protest at the lack of ethnic diversity in this year's nominations.
Stars including Dustin Hoffman, Lupita Wyong'o, George Clooney, David Oyelowo and Rafe Spall have also expressed their dismay at the all-white nominee list. Responding to the uproar, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced last month that it was changing its membership rules. Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs pledged "dramatic changes" to diversity in the academy's membership and the introduction of "measures aimed at making its Oscar choices more diverse".
Chris Rock is expected to address the #OscarsSoWhite controversy during his monologue and movie mogul Harvey Weinstein said that in doing so, the comedian will play an important role in highlighting the issue.
"I just can imagine Chris Rock's opening remarks," he said. "If anybody's planning on boycotting the Oscars, don't, because Chris Rock is gonna annihilate every one of us in the first 20 minutes of the show, and it will be well worth watching. It will be an Oscars to remember."
Meanwhile, Midler's tweet resonated with commentators on Twitterverse garnering 6.5K retweets in just one hour after posting. And while the star has made her position clear, she hasn't boycotted the event.
In fact she's been shopping in preparation for taking to the red carpet. "I got my Oscar outfit at Lily Ashwell on Rose, in Venice, in LA! NOW!! If only I were nominated!," she said.
The 88th Academy Awards will be held on February 28 at the Dolby Theatre at Hollywood & Highland Centre in Los Angeles. The ceremony will be televised live on the ABC Network.