Director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith on Monday announced plans to boycott the Feb. 28 Oscars ceremony amid a widening backlash against this year’s Academy Award nominations, reports the Los Angeles Times.
A boycott by other prominent entertainers could torpedo one of Hollywood’s biggest annual events.
Watch Roland Martin and NewsOne Now’s coverage of Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith announcing their decision to boycott of this year’s Oscars in the video clip below.
And should large numbers of African American viewers tune out, it could dent ratings for the Oscars telecast — the primary source of revenue for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
“It has such high ratings most years, so the image of Hollywood that the academy presents is at stake,” said Ana-Christina Ramón, assistant director and associate researcher at UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies.
“I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion,” academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs said in a statement released Monday night. “This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big change.”
Boone said the Academy plans to conduct “a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.“
It’s the second time in as many years that Boone has made a declaration to address the lack of diversity among Oscar nominees. Do you think a review will make a difference?
Since the announcement of the nominations last week, the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite resurfaced, bringing attention to the fact no people of color were nominated in the performance categories. While there were plenty of powerful considerations — such as director Gary F. Gray and the cast of Straight Outta Compton,Will Smith for his portrayal of Dr. Bennett Omalu in Concussion,Idris Elba for his work in the critically acclaimed “Beasts of No Nation” and director Ryan Coolger for his work on Creed — none were nominated.
Creed and Straight Outta Compton were celebrated in very indirect ways — the NWA biopic is nominated for “Best Screenplay,” and Sylvester Stallone is nominated for “Best Supporting Actor,” while Michael B. Jordan, the lead actor in the film, received no nominations.
Viewers got a sneak peak of what to expect at the February show on Friday when Rock tweeted a promo and this accurate joke about the ceremony.
Meanwhile, actress and producer Jada Pinkett Smith also took to social media to express her disappointment.
Her husband’s work in Concussion has been widely celebrated. Smith was nominated for a Golden Globe for his work and has won two awards; the African-American Film Critics Association award for “Best Actor” and The Hollywood Film Awards for “Actor of the Year.”
Will you watch the Oscars this year? Sound off in the comments below.