The cry for diversity in Hollywood seems to have reached a fever pitch. The situation heated up more after it was revealed that all 20 acting nominees up for Academy Awards in 2016 are white. This is the second consecutive year that this has happened.
A number of prominent black filmmakers and stars have spoken out about this year’s Academy Awards nominations, including director Spike Lee, Straight Outta Compton producer Will Packer, and actress Jada Pinkett Smith. Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said she was “disappointed” by the results as well. Last week, #OscarsSoWhite trended on social media for the second straight year.
Jada Pinkett Smith shared on social media her “deep disappointment” over the lack of diversity in this year’s Academy Awards nominees. She wrote on her Facebook and Twitter pages, “At the Oscars…people of color are always welcomed to give out awards…even entertain, but we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments.” She continued, “Should people of color refrain from participating all together? People can only treat us in the way in which we allow.” Comedian Chris Rock is scheduled to host the Academy Awards this year.
Will Smith, Pinkett Smith’s husband, is one of the contenders who missed out on an Academy Awards nomination this year for his role in Concussion. The academy also snubbed Idris Elba for his role in Beasts of No Nation, Michael B. Jordan and Tessa Thompson for their roles in Creed, Oscar Isaac for his role in Ex Machina, Benicio Del Toro for his role in Sicario, and Jason Mitchell for his role in Straight Outta Compton. Creed and Straight Outta Compton were also left off the list of nominees for Best Picture.
Director Spike Lee has announced that he will not attend the Academy Awards in February because of the lack of diversity among the nominees. Lee wrote on his Instagram account, “But, how is it possible for the second consecutive year all 20 contenders under the acting category are white? And let’s not even get into the other branches.”
Lee made the announcement early Monday. He wrote on his Instagram post that it was “no coincidence” his letter was posted on the national holiday to celebrate the birthday of Martin Luther King Jr. He also commented, “For too many years, when the Oscar 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.”