Oscar Boycott: Spike Lee, George Clooney, And Others Speak Out

The Oscar boycott has come at a time where Americans are really taking notice of race relations in America. The awards members are a large organization of over 6,000 members that isn’t terribly diverse. Even with an influx of close to 400 new members last year (a fair amount of women and people of color), the Academy remains 76 percent male, and 93 percent white. This aspect has not been overlooked. Last year, Academy President Cheryl Boone, whom is African-American, tried to even the playing field by reviewing membership and making changes. But looking at this year’s nominees being a reflection of last year, those changes were not enough, so it’s understandable why the Oscar boycott is happening at this time.

The reason why people are taking notice and are agreeing with the Oscar boycott is because films that centered on people of color, such as Creed and Straight Outta Compton, were largely ignored this awards season. Even the nominations that these films did receive were for Sylvester Stallone, and the screenwriters for Straight Outta Compton, are both white. Also, Oscar hopefuls actors Idris Elba (Beast Of No Nation) and Will Smith (Concussion) were also left out of the best actor and supporting actor categories. But only three celebrities are participating in the Oscar boycott so far…

The Oscar Boycott started with actress Jada Pinkett-Smith. She created a video that implored creators of color realize their power, their strength in numbers, and to put their time and energy into entities that reflect people of color and celebrate our talents.

Oscar Boycott, Academy Awards Boycott,
[Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP]
Director Spike Lee is particularly angered by the results of the nominations, having just received an honorary Oscar and having given a speech on improving diversity in film. Now, he has decided to join the Oscar boycott in solidarity with Jada Pinkett-Smith.

“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!!”

Oscar Boycott, Academy Awards Boycott, Jada Pinkett Smith, Michael Moore, Spike Lee
[Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images]
The following is a quote from director Michael Moore via the Wrap.

“I absolutely support what they are doing, and I will be happy to join them (in the Oscar boycott). The problem has to get fixed in the studio system, which has been a white-dominated, male-dominated industry for ever.”

Not everyone is calling for an Oscar Boycott. While Jada Pinkett-Smith, Spike Lee, and now Michael Moore are the Oscar boycott trio, there are others who are just outraged by the lack of diversity.

The following is a quote from actor David Oyelowo, via BBC News.

“For 20 opportunities to celebrate actors of color, actresses of color, to be missed last year is one thing; for that to happen again this year is unforgivable… This institution doesn’t reflect its president. I am an Academy member and it doesn’t reflect me. It doesn’t reflect this nation.”

The following is a quote from Oscar expert Tom O’Neil of GoldDerby.

“Not having people of color among the nominations — Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation) and Smith’s husband, Will Smith (Concussion), both were considered contenders — and ignoring Creed and Straight Outta Compton for best picture is “not just embarrassing for the Academy, it’s humiliating for America… We lead the world’s entertainment industry, and what does it say about us that this happens in the melting pot nation?

The following is a quote by actor George Clooney, via ABC News.

“All of a sudden, you feel like we’re moving in the wrong direction. There were nominations left off the table. There were four films this year: ‘Creed’ could have gotten nominations, ‘Concussion’ could have gotten Will Smith a nomination, Idris Elba could have been nominated for ‘Beasts of No Nation,’ and ‘Straight Outta Compton” could have been nominated. And certainly last year, with ‘Selma’ director Ava DuVernay — I think that it’s just ridiculous not to nominate her,” he said. “But honestly, there should be more opportunity than that. There should be 20 or 30 or 40 films of the quality that people would consider for the Oscars. By the way, we’re talking about African Americans. For Hispanics, it’s even worse. We need to get better at this. We used to be better at it.

The following is a quote by BET founder Bob Johnson, via the Wrap.

“We need to get more creative stories in front of the judging group at the Academy, so that they will have more choices on which to make their individual decisions.”

Actress Lupita Nyong’o, producer William Packer, and a slew of others have spoken out about the Oscar boycott and the lack of diversity. But the real question is, when will change really come?

[Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP]

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