Pharrell Visits "The Elvis Duran Z100 Morning Show"It looks like the Academy is trying to make amends for the #OscarsSoWhite backlash, with its announcement of a diverse first slate of presenters and performers for next month's Oscars ceremony.

The list was revealed in alphabetical order and without designating exactly who's performing and who's presenting, though it appears that the performers will most likely be nominees Lady Gaga (up for Best Original Song for "Til It Happens to You" from "The Hunting Ground"), The Weeknd ("Fifty Shades of Grey" tune "Earned It"), and Sam Smith ("Spectre" theme "The Writing's On the Wall").

Presenters will include past Oscar winners Benicio Del Toro, Whoopi Goldberg, and Charlize Theron, as well as Tina Fey, Ryan Gosling (a 2007 nominee for "Half Nelson"), Kevin Hart, Jacob Tremblay, and Pharrell Williams (a nominee and performer in 2014 for "Despicable Me 2"'s ubiquitous "Happy"). Many more names are expected where those came from.

The Academy has pledged to increase diversity among its ranks by doubling its number of women and minority members by 2020. It appears that inviting a more diverse slate of presenters to this year's ceremony is also part of its inclusiveness plan.

The Oscars, hosted by Chris Rock (who's likely to address the controversy head-on), will take place on Sunday, February 28 on ABC.

[via: The Academy]

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