With this year’s Oscars kicking up a storm over the lack of nominations to Black actors, some Hollywood stars have spoken out and are even boycotting the awards ceremony.
Actress and singer Jada Pinkett Smith has decided to boycott the Awards and said, “The Academy has the right to acknowledge [and] invite whomever they choose. Begging for acknowledgment … diminishes dignity [and] power. … So, let’s let the Academy do them with all grace and love, and let’s do us differently.”
She has been joined in the boycott by her husband and actor Will Smith.
Director Spike Lee who will also be boycotting the ceremony wrote, “How is it possible for the 2nd consecutive year all 20 contenders under the actor category are white?”
Documentary filmmaker Michael Moore said he will not attend.
Actor George Clooney has said that the Academy is going backwards because there used to be better representation of African-Americans although he has not hinted at a boycott.
“If you think back 10 years ago, the Academy was doing a better job,” Clooney told Variety magazine.
“I think around 2004, certainly there were black nominees — like Don Cheadle, Morgan Freeman. And all of a sudden, you feel like we’re moving in the wrong direction."
“But honestly, there should be more opportunity than that. There should be 20 or 30 or 40 films of the quality that people would consider for the Oscars.”
He said, “Think about how many more African Americans were nominated. I would also make the argument, 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?”
“We need to get better at this. We used to be better at it.”
“We should have been paying attention long before this,” he said. “I think that African Americans have a real fair point that the industry isn’t representing them well enough. I think that’s absolutely true.”
Actor Mark Ruffalo who is nominated in the Best Supporting Actor category for his role in Spotlight said, “I woke up in the morning thinking, ‘What is the right way to do this?’ Because if you look at Martin Luther King Jr.’s legacy, what he was saying is the good people who don’t act are much worse than the wrongdoers who are purposely not acting and don’t know the right way.”
“The entire American system is rife with white privilege racism. It goes into our justice system,” he said.
However, Ruffalo will not be boycotting the awards and will be going in support of victims of clergy sexual abuse and for good journalism.
Twelve years a slave actress Lupita Nyong’o, who won an Oscar in February 2014, said she was “disappointed by the lack of inclusion” and that she stood with her peers but stopped short of a boycott.
Academy critics have pointed out that films like Straight Outta Compton, Creed, Concussion, Beasts of No Nation and The Hateful Eight starring Black actors deserved Oscar nominations this year.