Tonight’s 88th annual Academy Awards is being held at the Dolby Theatre. Despite tonight’s live broadcast, the Oscars boycott is still going on strong. Protesters gathered right near the venue where the awards will be given out on Sunday night.
According to Salon, dozens of protesters arrived on the corner of Sunset Boulevard and Highland Avenue. Most of them were holding signs asking for more diversity in Hollywood films. Some of the signs read, “Hollywood Must Do Better” and “Shame On You,” meaning those who attend tonight’s Oscars.
Protestors also yelled out, “Hollywood, Hollywood, you ain’t looking so good” and “I got to be up on that screen.”
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) February 28, 2016
— Minnie Stephenson (@MinnieSteph5) February 28, 2016
According to the report, the protests are part of the Oscars boycott organized by Rev. Al Sharpton. Sharpton referred to this year’s Academy Awards as the “white Oscars” during a profess conference. After a second straight year of all white nominees prompting the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag and Oscars boycott, both viewers and stars have expressed disinterest in this year’s award ceremony.
And during a sermon on Sunday morning at the First AME Church of Los Angles, Sharpton threatened the boycott of Oscars advertisers if the diversity doesn’t increase tonight.
“We’ll tell advertisers we know you couldn’t break your contracts this year, but we’re going to put you on notice going forward. If they want to have a whites-only award, you don’t need no black dollars in your pocket.”
Meanwhile, others are waiting to see what host Chris Rock will say about the #OscarsSoWhite controversy during his opening monologue. So, if viewers are going to tune in anyway, will the Oscars boycott still have an impact on the face of Hollywood? Will it finally prompt producers and major film studios to create real change in the industry?
Sure, the #OscarsSoWhite hastag was trending hour prior to Sunday evening’s Academy Awards red carpet telecast, but the boycott won’t have an affect on the show like protesters think it will, according to the Oriana Schwindt of the International Business Times.
“While Oscar voters may be guilty of severe monochromaticism, ABC, the network that has made the biggest strides in telling stories that aren’t just about white Americans and which is now run by an African-American woman, is not. It’s ABC that will bear the brunt of the hurt — if any presents itself — of a boycott, not Oscar voters.”
“In 2011, ABC locked in a contract with the academy to air the Oscars through 2020, so until those rights are back in play, ABC is stuck with the audiences the Oscars produce. The Academy Awards are consistently the top-rated nonsports telecast every year. In 2011, this looked like a great business decision.”
There’s no denying that the Oscars boycott is making an impact. It has people talking, especially on social media. It also has big named celebrities such as Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith asking for change in Hollywood. The academy has promised that it will diversify its voting membership, including adding new seats to its board and launching a global campaign that will hire more diverse members. According to a Los Angeles Times study, 94 percent of academy voters were Caucasian and 77 percent of those were men.
A new study on diversity in 44 films and shows revealed that there’s an “epidemic of invisibility” for women, minorities, and LGBT people, according to The Associated Press. It’s not just the Oscars that’s so white; it’s Hollywood that’s white-washed, as well.
The “inclusivity index” took a look into 10 major companies: Amazon, CBS, CW, Hulu, NBC Universal, Netflix, Time Warner, 21st Century Fox, Warner Brothers Pictures, and Viacom. It found that all six of the major studios fell 20 percent in the overall grade.
Unfortunately, the change won’t take place overnight, as stated in a CNBC report. It will take time for the academy to expand its voting membership and for the large studio execs to finally give minorities a chance.
The Academy Awards starts at 8:30 p.m. EST. Protests are still being held near the red carpet while viewers at home are organizing a boycott of the live broadcast.
Are you joining the Oscars boycott? Do you agree that there needs to be more diversity in Hollywood? Sound off below in the comments section.
[Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images]