The hashtag #OscarsSoWhite appeared on Twitter, first as a joke, but later became part of a popular movement.
The discussion of the lack of film opportunities for black actors and directors in Hollywood has started last year when only white nominees were announced for the top Oscar categories. But when it also happened the second year in a row, some of the major Hollywood figures from Will Smith to George Clooney couldn’t keep silent.
See their reactions here:
Jada Pinkett Smith posted a video on her Facebook page where she declared: “Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power, and we are a dignified people and we are powerful and let’s not forget it. So let’s let the Academy do them, with all grace and love, and let’s do us differently.” She also said she won’t be attending the Oscars this year.
Watch the video here.
Her husband Will Smith gave an inspiring interview to Good Morning America: “The beauty of Hollywood combined with American ideals is the ultimate dream for humanity: the basis of the American concept of anything is possible, with hard work and dedication, no matter your race or religion, creed, none of that matters in America. … I think that diversity is the American superpower. That’s why we are great. So many different people from so many different places adding their ideas, their inspiration and their influences to this beautiful American gumbo and for me, at its best, Hollywood represents and then creates the imagery for that beauty. But for my part, I think I have to protect and fight for the ideals that make our country and make our Hollywood community great. So when I look at the series of nominations of the Academy, it’s not reflecting that beauty.” He also stated that, like his wife, he planned on skipping the Oscars this year.
The full interview can be seen here.
George Clooney said to Variety: “I think that African Americans have a real fair point that the industry isn’t representing them well enough. … 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. 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.”
Here you can read his full interview.
Lupita Nyongo shared on her Instagram: “I am disappointed by the lack of inclusion in this year’s Academy Awards nominations. It has me thinking about unconscious prejudice and what merits prestige in our culture. The Awards should not dictate the terms of art in our modern society, but rather be a diverse reflection of the best of what our art has to offer today,” she wrote. “I stand with my peers who are calling for change in expanding the stories that are told and recognition of the people who tell them.”
Here is Spike Lee’s reaction: “How is it possible for the second consecutive year all 20 contenders under the actor category are white?”
The 25th Hour director and his wife also boycott the Oscars this year.
“The View” co-host and actress Whoopi Goldberg asks: “Every year we get all fired up and then the rest of the year nobody says anything. These movies have been coming out — we’ve been going to see them. I’m sure people notice when there’s lack of diversity in a movie, so why are we speaking about it now?”
The president of the Academy issued a statement on Twitter saying she feels “heartbroken” about all this happening.
A statement from Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs pic.twitter.com/Nqhgc7sbqG
— The Academy (@TheAcademy) January 19, 2016