The list of nominations for the Academy Awards were released last week, and for the second year in a row, all of the acting nominees are white. This prompted criticism and the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite to resurface online. Now, prominent celebrities are sharing their thoughts. Some are announcing a boycott of the awards while others are against it.
Taking a stand
Spike Lee announced that he will not be attending the awards. Lee – a director, producer, writer, and actor – has been nominated for an Academy Award twice and was given an Honorary Academy Award in November 2015. He posted a lengthy explanation on his Instagram page and stated that he and his wife are not attending the Oscar Ceremony this February.
“We cannot support it and mean no disrespect to my friends,” he wrote. “But how is it possible for the 2nd consecutive year all 20 contenders under the actor category are white? And let’s not even get into the other branches.”
The Smiths will also be absent
After her husband was snubbed for his role in Concussion, Jada Pinkett Smith said that she would not even watch the Oscars this year.
“Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power. And we are a dignified people, and we are powerful,” she said. “So let’s let the Academy do them, with all grace and love. And let’s do us, differently.”
Will Smith agreed with his wife and said that they would be uncomfortable standing there.
“I think I have to protect and fight for the ideals that make our country and Hollywood community great. So when I look at the series of nominations from the Academy, it’s not reflecting that beauty,” he said.
Academy member Michael Moore is also taking part in the boycott.
Others are speaking out
Even actors who have won Oscars are speaking out. British director Steve McQueen, whose movie 12 Years a Slave won the best film award said:Loading...
“It can’t be about box office, because I think black actors and stories along those lines have been doing very, very well, obviously. So it’s about executives in cinema and film studios, television, cable networks, giving those storylines and those actors a fairbite.”
Lupita Nyong’o, who won the Oscar for best-supporting actress in the same film, shared a post on her Instagram page expressing her disappointment.
“It has me thinking about unconscious prejudice and what merits prestige in our culture,” she said.
George Clooney, who has won two Oscars, said that the awards are moving in the wrong direction and argued that the movies Creed, Concussion, Beasts of No Nation, and Straight Outta Compton deserved more recognition.
“I don’t think it’s a problem of who you’re picking as much as it is: How many options are available to minorities in film, particularly in quality films?” he said.
He added that Hispanics in Hollywood also struggle with representation.
A few are asking Chris Rock to step down
Stars like 50 Cent and Tyrese Gibson have even asked Chris Rock to step down as host of the awards.
“Chris please do not do the oscars awards. You mean a lot man, don’t do it. Please,” 50 Cent wrote in a now deleted post on Instagram.
Gibson said that there is no joke the comedian can make to fix this and stepping down would be a statement. Rock has not yet responded.
But some are not buying it
A couple of celebrities have slammed the boycott. Actress Stacey Dash called it “ludicrous” and accused those participating in the boycott of having a double standard. Janet Hubert, Will Smith’s former co-star on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, slammed him and his wife.
“I find it ironic that somebody who has made their living and has made millions and millions of dollars from the very people that you’re talking about boycotting just because you didn’t get a nomination, just because you didn’t win?” she demanded.
It should be noted that Hubert has been a longtime critic of Will Smith. And Whoopi Goldberg also criticized the boycott on The View –
“You wanna boycott something? Don’t go see the movies that don’t have your representation. That’s the boycott you want,” she said.