Two stars to boycott 2016 Oscars
After hinting at a boycott this weekend, Jada Pinkett Smith said today she plans to sit out the 88th Academy Awards, which will be broadcast on ABC on Feb. 28.
The actress, whose husband, Will Smith, was an Oscar nominee contender for his role in NFL football drama “Concussion,” said in a Facebook video she was disappointed by the lack of diversity in Oscar nominations.
“Begging for acknowledgement or even asking [to be nominated] diminishes dignity,” she said in the video. “It diminishes power and we are a dignified people and we are powerful. And let’s not forget it. So let’s let the Academy do them with all grace and love and let’s do us differently.”
Pinkett Smith, 44, also had a message for this year’s host, Chris Rock.
“Chris, I will not be at the Academy Awards and I won’t be watching but I can’t think of a better man to do the job at hand this year then you my friend,” she said. “Good luck.”
We must stand in our power.
Still, Rock, 50, isn’t afraid to take a critical look at this year’s award, either. He tweeted last week: “The #Oscars. The White BET Awards.”
Pinkett Smith initially tweeted Saturday, asking her nearly 900,000 followers: “Should people of color refrain from participating all together?”
It appears Pinkett Smith is taking a page from her husband’s playbook. Will Smith, 47, along with DJ Jazzy Jeff, led a boycott of the Grammy Awards in 1989 when it refused to televise the rap category in which they won.
Pinkett Smith isn’t the only star to boycott this year. Spike Lee also announced today that he won’t be attending the awards show, despite being honored with an honorary trophy last year.
“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,” he wrote on Instagram next to a photo of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
“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.”
Lee, 58, added, “It’s No Coincidence I’m Writing This As We Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday. …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.”
It’s the second year in a row that critics and social media commentators have blasted the Academy Award nods for lack of diversity. This year, not one person of color was nominated for the coveted gold trophy in top categories such as Best Actor or Actress and Best Supporting Actor or Actress.
Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who is African-American, has responded to the critiques.
Although Isaacs was not available for an interview with ABC News, she told ABC station KABC-TV in Los Angeles, “We are being louder and louder and we are going to continue this conversation and we’re going to do more than just talk.”