'Straight Outta Compton' Cast And Crew React Differently To #OscarsSoWhite Backlash

Mohit Priyadarshi

The ongoing Oscars controversy has elicited very different responses from the cast and crew of the N.W.A. biopic, Straight Outta Compton.

For the second year in a row, black actors have failed to be nominated in the major acting categories at the Academy Awards, resulting in a strong backlash from certain quarters of the Hollywood community. Jada Pinkett-Smith famously called for a boycott of this year's ceremony, with directors like Spike Lee also and Oscars host Chris Rock also rallying behind the African-American community to voice its discontent in more explicit ways.

Of course, some consider the Oscars snub of black actors to be legitimate, with their point of argument relying heavily on their belief that no black actor (or actress) has performed well enough to deserve a nomination. Others disagree, pointing to movies like Creed, Concussion, and Straight Outta Compton, arguing that some of the performances in those movies by African-American actors is too good to be ignored by the Academy.

And now, as the controversy heats up on social media and within the Hollywood fraternity, others have started to voice their opinions, too. Interesting as the backlash is, it is even more interesting to see some of the people involved in the same movie reacting very differently to the #OscarsSoWhite saga. Straight Outta Compton is a case in point, with different people involved in the movie having different opinions about the backlash.

"The voters, they're entitled to their own opinions, just like you and I. That doesn't mean Straight Outta Compton is not being celebrated. We are still up for an award for original screenplay and I will be there to represent Straight Outta Compton."

But while evidently O'Shea Jackson Jr. is not stoked about the whole issue, very much like his father Ice Cube himself, others related to the project feel differently. Will Packer, the producer of Straight Outta Compton, who has worked with Ice Cube in other movies, said the Oscars snub is simply embarrassing for the Academy and what it represents.

"To my Academy colleagues, WE HAVE TO DO BETTER. Period. The reason the rest of the world looks at us like we have no clue is because in 2016 it's a complete embarrassment to say that the heights of cinematic achievement have only been reached by white people. I repeat — it's embarrassing."

"We're happy to be where we are. When you develop Straight Outta Compton, you just want to stay true and you want it to be authentic, and some people just don't get it. It's a very specific experience. It's harsh to some, but it's very real," Gray said, perhaps insinuating that the raw nature of the biopic may have failed to strike a chord with the conservative (read: old, white and male) members of the Academy.

He further said there were other awards which have been more welcoming to Straight Outta Compton, and he is happy with that. "We've had a ton of nominations, and the awards are coming in — just from different places. To a certain extent, like Cube says, it's all gravy from here."

The controversy might only become more animated as we approach the Oscars, but one thing is certain: Hollywood is unable to decide which side to take.

[Photos by Rich Polk, Rick Diamond. Sara Jaye/Getty Images]

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