Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith announcing that they both would be boycotting the Academy Awards over the lack of diversity among the nominees.
Spike Lee the “Chi-Raq” director critized the movie industry and reveal that he and his wife, Tonya, would not be attending the awards.
“We Cannot Support It And Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy,” the Brooklyn-based director wrote on his Instagram page Monday, name-checking a pair of black industry insiders involved in the telecast.
Lee’s comments reverberates the latest expression of dissatisfaction in a year which features no major nominees of color other than “The Revenant” director Alejandro González Iñárritu. The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite proved to be a trending topic for days on social media.
Jada Pinkett Smith also revealed in a Facebook video that she would not be at the Academy Awards and would not be watching at home, either.
“Begging for acknowledgement or even asking diminishes dignity and diminishes power and we are a dignified people and we are powerful, let’s not forget it,” she said to her Facebook followers.
“So let’s let the Academy do them with all grace and love and let’s do us differently.”
Her husband, Will Smith, had been expected by some prognosticators to be a best actor contender for his turn in “Concussion,” but had been shut out in last Thursday’s nominations.
Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences president Cherryl Boone Isaacs, herself African American and a huge proponent of increasing diversity in the movie business, admitted to Deadline.com last week that she was “disappointed.”
Lee, whose films have traditionally been ignored by the Academy voters during the awards themselves, had brought up the disparity during his acceptance speech when he was handed an honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards last November.
The “Do the Right Thing” helmer called out the entire Hollywood studio system for being nearly completely white and male at the top, effectively blocking diversity throughout the industry.
“I always say stuff that people think, but my wife sometimes says, ‘you shouldn’t say it, you got that movie you want to get made.'” Lee told the News at the time.
“But the truth is the truth. It’s not a lie that it’s easier for an African American to become president of the United States of America than to be put in charge of a Hollywood studio. Or a broadcast or cable network.”
He reiterated that position in his Instagram post on Monday morning.
“As I See It, The Academy Awards Is Not Where The ‘Real’ Battle Is,” Lee wrote. “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.”