EXCLUSIVE: Kerry Washington Won't Join Oscars Boycott, But Likes the Dialogue It Sparked

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Kerry Washington won't boycott the Academy Awards, but she's pleased by the discussion about diversity that it has started.

"What's great about what is happening this year with the Oscars is it's giving us an opportunity to talk about these things in a way that's a little bit more honest than we've talked about them in the past, so great!" Washington told ET on Thursday.

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The George Washington University graduate was honored by Harvard as its Hasty Pudding Woman of the Year and celebrated with a roast and a parade through Harvard Square.

"It's an extreme honor," Washington said. "I keep trying to not be nervous about joining the ranks of these women, and the fact that I'm going to get roasted today. I've never been roasted before and I'm not looking forward to it, but I'm going to try to have a good time."

Getting her mind off of the good-natured insults she was about to endure, Washington dished on the best compliment she could imagine for herself.

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"The thing that means the most to me is when I'm being really authentic -- when I wear a dress that's the dress I wanted to wear, or the sweats I wanted to wear or I say the thing that's in my heart," Washington explained. "Whenever somebody says thank you for that -- for just being yourself -- that feels like the greatest compliment, because that's what we all want: to be able to be who we are, and to be loved for who we are."

ET's Cameron Mathison couldn't help but compliment Washington on her new haircut.

"I'm loving it!" Washington gushed. "It's fun. I just like to change it up. I just like to change it up as much as possible, and I'm always looking for ways to feel different from Olivia Pope. I wanted to do something that felt like it was really not her."