Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith have called to boycott the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences’ this year because no black actor has been nominated in any of the categories in the Oscars. However, Lee and Pinkett Smith are facing a lot of online criticism for taking this stand against the Oscars.
It is also the second straight year that the Academy nominated all-white actors and ignored the black actors for the Oscars. In a lengthy Instagram post, which Lee wrote on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, the actor said he “cannot support” the “lily white” Oscars. “Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all,” he wrote.
“We can’t act?!”
#OscarsSoWhite… Again. I Would Like To Thank President Cheryl Boone Isaacs And The Board Of Governors Of The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences For Awarding Me an Honorary Oscar This Past November. I Am Most Appreciative. However 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!! It’s No Coincidence I’m Writing This As We Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday. Dr. King Said “There Comes A Time When One Must Take A Position That Is Neither Safe, Nor Politic, Nor Popular But He Must Take It Because Conscience Tells Him It’s Right”. For Too Many Years When The Oscars 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. For Once, (Maybe) I Would Like The Media To Ask All The White Nominees And Studio Heads How They Feel About Another All White Ballot. If Someone Has Addressed This And I Missed It Then I Stand Mistaken. As I See It, The Academy Awards Is Not Where The “Real” Battle Is. It’s In The Executive Office Of The Hollywood Studios And TV And Cable Networks. This Is Where The Gate Keepers Decide What Gets Made And What Gets Jettisoned To “Turnaround” Or Scrap Heap. This Is What’s Important. The Gate Keepers. Those With “The Green Light” Vote. As The Great Actor Leslie Odom Jr. Sings And Dances In The Game Changing Broadway Musical HAMILTON, “I WANNA BE IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS”. People, The Truth Is We Ain’t In Those Rooms And Until Minorities Are, The Oscar Nominees Will Remain Lilly White. (Cont’d)
The actor also revealed that he and his wife Tonya Lewis Lee are taking this stand against Oscars because they have felt that the African-Americans actors have been snubbed since last so many years. Each year, he is gets phone calls by many media persons to give his opinion on the lack of black nominations.
“For once, (maybe) I would like the media to ask all the white nominees and studio heads how they feel about another all white ballot. If someone has addressed this and I missed it then I stand mistaken,” he added.
However, Lee has faced criticism on his Instagram page for his opinion on Oscars. “When they are not getting awards and recognition they boycott nevertheless it’s never too late to bring our race together. It’s still true regardless,” wrote one user on the same page.
“To me maybe that’s because they feel that they have picked the correct people for the job and not just because of their race,” added another Instagram user on the same page.
Meanwhile, in a video message on Facebook, Pinkett Smith also said she would neither attend nor watch the Oscars in February. Her husband Will Smith too missed out the Oscar nomination for his performance in the film about NFL head-trauma, “Concussion.” She has been criticized by online trolls who believe she is only taking a stand because of the lack of her husband’s nomination.
“When did this become such an important issue to you, after your husband was “snubbed” from the nominations? Because we should have taken this attitude years ago,” wrote a user named Tora Miller on her Facebook page. She also asked the actress why many “powerful, superstar black actors and actresses” do not attend the NAACP Image awards yearly to support other black entertainers.
“So instead of talking about it because you feel that your body of work deserved an academy award nomination from an institution that was not even created to honor blacks in the film industry, support the institutions that were created to not diminish your dignity but to celebrate it,” Miller added.