For the second time in as many years the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite is trending on Twitter.
The reason is that, for the second time in two years, no actor of colour has been nominated for an Academy Award.
Samuel L. Jackson, Will Smith, Idris Elba and Michael B. Jordan are just a few of the high profile actors who were overlooked in this year’s nominations, despite each being eligible and each having put in stellar performances of late.
Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith was furious that her husband was snubbed for his role in ‘Concussion’ (for which he received a Golden Globe nomination) and took to social media to voice her criticism of the Oscars’ whitewash.
In a video — posted on Marthin Luther King’s birthday — she announced that she would be boycotting the awards ceremony posing the question: “Is it time that people of colour recognise how much power, influence that we have amassed that we no longer need to ask to be invited anywhere?”
“The Academy has the right to acknowledge whoever they choose, invite whoever they choose. Now I think it is our responsibility to make the change,” she said.
“Maybe it is time to pull back our resources and put them back into our communities. Begging for acknowledgment or even asking diminishes dignity and diminishes power.”
Watch the video here:
Iconic director Spike Lee has also joined the outcry over the Oscars’ the lack of diversity, announcing he would also be boycotting the awards in an Instagram post the same day.
#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)
“How is it possible for the second consecutive year all the 20 contenders under the actor category are white? And let’s not even get into the other branches,” he wrote.
“Forty white actors in two years and no flava [sic] at all. We can’t act?! WTF!
“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.”
Actor Roy Wood expressed surprise that even in films that almost exclusively feature performances by people of colour, such as ‘Straight Outta Compton’, white people still received the majority of nominations.
Bafflingly, Sylvester Stallone managed to nab a Best Supporting Actor nod for his reprisal of Rocky Balboa in ‘Creed’, but the film’s lead Michael B. Jordan got nothing.