CBS New York, January 18, 2016
Calls for a boycott of the Academy Awards are growing over the Oscars’ second straight year of mostly white nominees, as Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith each said Monday that they will not attend this year’s ceremony.
In a lengthy Instagram post, Lee said he “cannot support” the “lily white” Oscars. Noting that he was writing on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Lee said he was fed up: “40 white actors in two years and no flava at all,” he wrote.
“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,” Lee wrote. “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.
“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,” added Lee, who was awarded an honorary Oscar last year. “This is where the gate keepers decide what gets made and what gets jettisoned to “turnaround” or scrap heap.
In a video message on Facebook, Pinkett Smith also said she wouldn’t attend or watch the Oscars in February. Pinkett Smith, whose husband, Will Smith, wasn’t nominated for his performance in the NFL head trauma drama “Concussion,” said “begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity.”
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio called the lack of diversity in the Academy Award nominations unacceptable.
After the nominations were announced last week, de Blasio took to Twitter to say he and his wife “are sick of only one kind of American being celebrated.”