Outrage has greeted the nomination list for the 2016 Oscars, after it became clear that no black person was recognized for their work for the second consecutive year.
The nominees for the 2016 Academy Awards were announced last week Thursday … and strangely no black actor or any black person at all made the list. ENTmania! noted back then that this snub was going to generate a race issue considering that many black actors performed superbly enough to be recognized … and indeed reactions have been pouring in from all corners ever since, with many calling for or announcing that they will be boycotting this year’s ceremony.
Below are the reactions of some notable celebrities on the issue.
1. Rev. Al Sharpton
The civil rights activist and White House adviser was one of the first celebs to react to the snub, tweeting shortly after the list was announced:
‘All white Oscar nominations are another example of the lack of diversity in Hollywood. Like the Rocky Mts. The higher u climb the whiter.
‘Hollywood has a fraudulent image of progressive and liberal politics and policies. We must take direct action to correct this. Talk is cheap.’
Then in an interview with The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday, Sharpton called for a boycott of this year’s ceremony, announcing that his organization (National Action Network) will be mobilizing support to ensure that the telecast of the Oscars in February 28 will be a colossal ratings disaster and bad business for advertisers.
2. Jada Pinkett Smith
On Saturday, Pinkett Smith in a Facebook post lamented that ‘people of color are always welcomed to give out awards … even entertain, but we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments.’ Then in a follow-up Facebook video on Monday, the actress – whose husband Will Smith was snubbed despite a worthy performance in Concussion – announced that she would not attend or even watch the Oscars.
Pinkett went on to suggest that it was time blacks break away from the Oscars and ‘make programs for ourselves that acknowledge us in ways that we see fit,’ arguing that ‘begging for acknowledgment, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power.’
Although Pinkett Smith’s video went viral with a lot of positive comments, she was also criticized for allegedly being selfish in her stance. For example, comedian Doug Benson tweeted, ‘But if her husband had been the only person of color to get a nom, she would’ve been front row center at the Oscars.’ Janet Hubert, aka ‘Aunt Viv’ on Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, blasted Pinkett in a Facebook video of her own, accusing her of trying to rally actors ‘to jeopardize their career and their standing … just because you didn’t get a nomination, just because you didn’t win.’
3. Spike Lee
Also on Monday, the famed director and filmmaker announced on Instagram that he was boycotting the Oscars, asking, ‘… how is it possible for the second consecutive year all 20 contenders under the acting category are white? And let’s not even get into the other branches. Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all. We can’t act?! WTF!!’
#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)
4. Whoopi Goldberg
The EGOT-winning actress, unlike Jada and Lee, will not boycott the Oscars mainly because of black comedian Chris Rock, who is hosting this year’s ceremony. During Tuesday’s The View, Goldberg maintained that she’s ‘mad’ about the all-white nomination, but ‘boycotting doesn’t work. And it’s also a slap in the face of Chris Rock, and I find that also wrong. So I’m not going to boycott.’
5. Chris Rock
The Oscars host is now under intense pressure to boycott the Oscars since he would be hosting an awards show where his fellow African-Americans are not recognized. But so far, his only reaction was to tweet on Friday, ‘The
#Oscars. The White BET Awards.’
6. Snoop Dogg
The rapper was dramatic in his reaction to the black snub. In an expletive-ridden video posted on Instagram Tuesday, Dogg made it abundantly clear that he will not be watching the Oscars.
‘Somebody asked me, was I gonna watch the motherf***ing Oscars?,’ Dogg says in the video. ‘F*** no!’
What the f*** am I gonna watch that bulls**t for?’ he asks. ‘They ain’t got no n****s nominated. All these great movies, and all this great s**t y’all keep stealing from us. F*** you! F*** you!’
7. George Clooney
The two-time Oscar-winning actor expressed his disappointment in an interview with Variety, saying, ‘I think that African-Americans have a real fair point that the industry isn’t representing them well enough. I think that’s absolutely true.’
He continued, ‘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.’
‘ … we’re moving in the wrong direction,’ he added.
8. Academy Awards President Cheryl Boone Isaacs
In a statement released on Monday night, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences president – who is African-American, btw – said she was ‘heartbroken’ and ‘frustrated’ by the snub, promising that ‘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.’
Here is her full statement:
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.
As many of you know, we have implemented changes to diversify our membership in the last four years. But the change is not coming as fast as we would like. We need to do more, and better and more quickly.
This isn’t unprecedented for the Academy. In the ’60s and ’70s it was about recruiting younger members to stay vital and relevant. In 2016, the mandate is inclusion in all of its facets: gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation. We recognize the very real concerns of our community, and I so appreciate all of you who have reached out to me in our effort to move forward together.
What’s your take on the ‘White Oscars’ controversy? Share your thoughts below.