Oscar's need to change amid too many 'horror stories': Director

Director Chris Columbus on "The Young Messiah"
Director Chris Columbus on "The Young Messiah"

The 2016 Oscars are on Sunday, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been the subject of significant criticism for weeks, with some boycotting the event for lack of racial diversity.

Twitter hashtags #Oscarsowhite or #boycotttheoscars highlight the ongoing conversation, with the chatter raising questions about whether the lack of diversity is more reflective of the film industry or the voting members of the academy.

Veteran film director and producer Chris Columbus puts more onus on the academy, the director told CNBC recently.

"I think part of it is reflective of the Academy," he told "Closing Bell" this week. Although he said the entire Academy shouldn't be judged as a whole, "I've heard horror stories about how people vote, and so, things do need to change."

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Representatives for the academy did not immediately respond to CNBC's request for comment.

With his current movie on deck, "The Young Messiah," Columbus is also gauging Hollywood's taste for movies with conservative or religious themes.

Columbus, who directed Harry Potter films and a plethora of classics, is producing the film, which alludes to the life of a young Jesus Christ, "is just a great story about a young boy of age 7 trying to come to terms with who he is," he said.

The filmmaker suggests that the film, which is based on an Anne Rice book, "is not that conservative."

Columbus is known for creating emotionally vivid scenes, and "The Young Messiah" is expected follow suit.

"I honestly think it's always about family," he said, in regards to what drives him to tap into relationships. "I'm just drawn to extreme emotions."

Meanwhile, boycotting the Oscars has taken on a movement of its own. Business magnate Russell Simmons' All Def Digital Company is set to premiere the All Def Movie Awards this Sunday.

The awards incited the moniker "Black Oscars," made in efforts to celebrate diversity. Simmons, a long time social activist, has joined television network Fusion Media.The enterprises have ventured into a multi-year partnership.

The award show will be hosted by Tony Rock, comedian and brother to Oscars' host, Chris Rock. It will air at the same time as the Oscars.

"Elevating underrepresented voices is core to FUSION's mission and we are thrilled that the All Def Movie Awards will be an event for us to celebrate the diversity that makes our culture so rich," FUSION's CEO Isaac Lee, said in a statement.