American director Spike Lee has vowed to boycott next month’s Academy Awards ceremony because of the mostly white actors among the Oscar nominees.
Lee, the director of “Do the Right Thing” and 2015’s “Chi-Raq,” said he had timed his announcement with the national holiday commemorating slain civil rights leader the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.
“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,” Lee wrote under the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag.
#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)
For the second year running black actors have been overlooked in the main categories. Ethnic minority nominees, including documentaries, and make-up do feature but Lee said this was not enough.
Both Idris Elba in Beasts of No Nation and Will Smith for his role in Concussion have been ignored by the awards jury.
The hashtag “Oscars So White” has been trending on Twitter after Michael B Jordan was not nominated for Creed, the much-lauded Sylvester Stallone film in the Rocky series, and the many young, first-time actors in Straight Outta Compton were also snubbed.
High-profile Hollywood stars boycotting this year's Oscars in protest of another year of mostly white nominees: https://t.co/BeibgyhWwz— NBC New York (@NBCNewYork) January 18, 2016
Pinkett Smith, who appeared in two “Matrix” movies, also said she would skip the Feb. 28 ceremony.
“Maybe it’s time we pull back our resources and we put them back into our communities, and we make programs for ourselves that acknowledge us in ways that we see fit, that are just as good as the so-called mainstream,” she said in a video on Facebook.
Her husband Will Smith, who stars in the football injury drama “Concussion,” and Idris Elba, who portrayed an African warlord in “Beasts of No Nation,” were among black actors snubbed this year.
The black cast and director of hip hop biopic “Straight Outta Compton” were also left out.