NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) — Will Smith said he will not attend the Academy Awards next month, joining his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, and others in protest against two straight years of all-white acting nominees.
Smith told “Good Morning America” that he and his wife have discussed it and feel “we’re uncomfortable to stand there and say this is OK.”
Some thought Smith might be nominated for his performance in the football drama “Concussion,” but he was not. Smith would likely have been a sought-after presenter at the Feb. 28 ceremony at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles.
He had been nominated twice before, for 2001’s “Ali” and 2006’s “The Pursuit of Happyness.”
In a video message posted to Facebook on Monday, Pinkett Smith announced she wouldn’t attend or watch the Oscars and said “begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity.”
In a lengthy Instagram post, director Spike Lee said he “cannot support” the “lily white” Oscars.
“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,” Lee wrote. “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.”
Lee’s recent film “Chi-Raq” did not get nominated at all.
“I literally don’t understand it,” de Blasio said Monday. “There are so many opportunities to honor actors of color and we’ve all seen numerous movies that were highly acclaimed or great commercial successes with leading men and women of color and tremendous supporting actors of color, what’s going on here?”
Sharpton said he would lead a campaign encouraging people not to watch the awards ceremony telecast.
Nominees for the Oscars were announced last week, reigniting the Twitter hashtag from last year, #OscarsSoWhite.
All 20 acting nominees are white.
Some observers believed Idris Elba deserved a best supporting actor nomination for the Netflix movie “Beasts of No Nation” and that the NWA biopic “Straight Outta Compton” warranted best picture and best director consideration. (It was, however, nominated for best original screenplay.)
Meanwhile, the only nomination for “Creed,” a movie made by a black director and starring a black actor, went to Sylvester Stallone for best supporting actor.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the academy’s first African American president, responded to the criticism saying that “it’s time for big changes” and that she will review membership recruiting to bring about “much-need diversity” in the academy’s ranks.
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