The #OscarsSoWhite movement gains momentum amid celebrity pressure on the Academy Awards.
The full nominee list for the 88th Annual Academy Awards was released over the weekend, and while many people were discussing whether or not Leo DiCaprio would finally win his first Oscar, a few other people noticed a much more glaring issue: for the second year in a row there are no people of color among any of the 20 actors and actresses nominated.
Notable snubs include Will Smith (“Concussion”), Idris Elba (“Beasts of No Nation”), Samuel L. Jackson (The Hateful Eight”), and the entire cast of “Straight Outta Compton.” Now, a few celebrities are clapping back at the Academy for what they see as an unforgivable oversight given how much talent was available for selection.
Jada Pinkett Smith posted Saturday on Facebook and Twitter, "At the Oscars, people of color are always welcomed to give out awards, even entertain, but we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments. Should people of color refrain from participating all together?”
Today, venerable director and honorary Academy Award winner Spike Lee posted a longer missive on Instagram, also bowing out from attending this year’s Academy Awards. He acknowledged the timing of his post (MLK Day) and went on to add, “As I see it, the Academy Awards is not where the “real" battle is. It's in the executive office of the Hollywood studios and TV and cable networks. This is where the gate keepers decide what gets made and what gets jettisoned to “turnaround" or scrap heap.” The whole thing is worth reading.
Two actors refusing to attend won’t make a huge difference to the Academy, even if it looks bad. However, with the #OscarSoWhite online movement continuing to gain momentum and rumors of this year's host Chris Rock potentially dropping out, there’s no doubt these issues are going to be at the forefront of Academy Award conversations for weeks to come. That’s at least something Dr. Martin Luther King would be happy to hear.
At the Oscars...people of color are always welcomed to give out awards...even entertain, (pt. 1)— Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith) January 16, 2016
But we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments. Should people of color refrain from participating all together? (pt 2)— Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith) January 16, 2016
People can only treat us in the way in which we allow. With much respect in the midst of deep disappointment. J (pt 3)— Jada Pinkett Smith (@jadapsmith) January 16, 2016
#OscarsSoWhite... Again. I Would Like To Thank President Cheryl Boone Isaacs And The Board Of Governors Of The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences For Awarding Me an Honorary Oscar This Past November. I Am Most Appreciative. However My Wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee And I Will Not Be Attending The Oscar Ceremony This Coming February. We Cannot Support It And Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy. 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. 40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can't Act?! WTF!! It's No Coincidence I'm Writing This As We Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday. Dr. King Said "There Comes A Time When One Must Take A Position That Is Neither Safe, Nor Politic, Nor Popular But He Must Take It Because Conscience Tells Him It's Right". For Too Many Years When The Oscars Nominations Are Revealed, My Office Phone Rings Off The Hook With The Media Asking Me My Opinion About The Lack Of African-Americans And This Year Was No Different. For Once, (Maybe) I Would Like The Media To Ask All The White Nominees And Studio Heads How They Feel About Another All White Ballot. If Someone Has Addressed This And I Missed It Then I Stand Mistaken. As I See It, The Academy Awards Is Not Where The "Real" Battle Is. It's In The Executive Office Of The Hollywood Studios And TV And Cable Networks. This Is Where The Gate Keepers Decide What Gets Made And What Gets Jettisoned To "Turnaround" Or Scrap Heap. This Is What's Important. The Gate Keepers. Those With "The Green Light" Vote. As The Great Actor Leslie Odom Jr. Sings And Dances In The Game Changing Broadway Musical HAMILTON, "I WANNA BE IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS". People, The Truth Is We Ain't In Those Rooms And Until Minorities Are, The Oscar Nominees Will Remain Lilly White. (Cont'd)