BY DEOYE FALADE
As the 88th Academy Awards draws nearer, movie enthusiasts seem to be enmeshed in all sort of drama. This time around, it seems the #OscarsSoWhite accusation levelled against organisers of the awards for being racist is gathering steam. This time around, it’s from Jada Pinkett Smith.
The petite actress and wife of the Concussion star, Will Smith is in a feisty mood as she followed up her earlier statements about a possible boycott of the awards – due to a perceived lack of diversity among nominees – with a confirmation on Monday.
As expected, there’s so much drama out there at the moment with some in support and others countering. Here’s some of the action:
And she’s not alone as respected filmmaker Spike Lee also joined in with an Instagram post, stating that he wouldn’t be attending – more or less invoking Rev Martin Luther King’s legacy on his birthday.
#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)
Janet Hubert, who played Aunt Viv in The Fresh Prince of Bel Air was downright disagreeable. No surprise there.
“I find it ironic that somebody who has made their living, made their living and made millions and millions of dollars from the very people you’re talking about boycotting just because you didn’t get a nomination, just because you didn’t win. That is not the way life works, baby. You ain’t Barack and Michelle Obama,” Hubert said.
David Oyelowo who was famously overlooked for playing Martin Luther King Jr. in Selma when the Oscar nominations were announced last year also shaded the Academy at a gala honouring Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs Monday night.
“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 and it doesn’t reflect this room. I am an Academy member and it doesn’t reflect me, and it doesn’t reflect this nation.” He said.
Curtis ‘50 Cent’ Jackson would rather have it that Oscar 2016 host, Chris Rock, step down.
2010 Emmy Award winner, Carol Denise ‘Niecy’ Nash also said, “I don’t know if avoiding it altogether is going to help, but I just think we have to continue to move forward. We have this awareness and this spotlight — we’ve got to look at other work. There’s other work out there that I think was missed. We’ve just got to do better.”
So far, it appears the furore has gotten the required attention as The President of the Academy, Cheryl Boone Isaacs – a black woman – said she was heartbroken.
“I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees. While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes. The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership. In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.”
Maybe in 2017, we’ll get hashtags saying #OscarsNotSoWhite