The entertainment industry has been fussing about the alleged racist selection of award nominees for the upcoming 88th Academy Awards this February. A number of actors and actresses of color have voiced out their opinions about Academy members’ “lack of diversity” in the Oscars 2016 nominations, including Lupita Nyong’o, Snoop Dogg, Jada Pinkett Smith, and director Spike Lee.
Oscars 2016 nominations caused a stir in the entertainment industry this week. Lupita Nyong’o, one of the few black women who have received an Oscar award for her performance in “12 Years A Slave” way back in 2014, relayed her disappointment. Although she is not part of the Oscars 2016 nominations, she referred to the Academy members’ lack of diversity for their choices of potential award receivers.
She took to Instagram and posted:
The actress felt that the Academy has, again, disappointed artists of color in the industry and thought that the instance was an “unconscious prejudice” to artists of color. Although she failed to mention whether she will attend the said event, reports speculated that she may not attend altogether.
Just this week, actress and wife of Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith, also relayed her disappointment with regards to the Oscars 2016 nominations as her husband who played the lead role in “Concussion,” failed to land an opportunity to grab an Oscar for his performance. She, along with her husband, have relayed their idea of boycotting the event.
In other news, Director Spike Lee, also an Oscar honorary receiver back in November during the “Governor’s Ball,” also took to Instagram and posted his disappointment.
#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)
A photo posted by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on
Following which, the director also posted a video of Snoop Dogg, who profanely voiced out his feelings on the “unjust” and “racist” manner of the Academy members’ choices of potential award receivers.
With all the negative reactions that surfaced after the Oscars 2016 nominations were revealed last January 14, 2016, the Academy members responded to allegations, including Penelope Ann Miller. She said, “I voted for a number of black performers, and I was sorry they weren’t nominated. But to imply that this is because all of us are racists is extremely offensive. I don’t want to be lumped into a category of being a racist because I’m certainly not and because I support and benefit from the talent of black people in the business. It was just an incredible competitive year.”
She added, “I loved ‘Beasts of No Nation, and I loved Idris Elba in it – I just think not enough people saw it, and that’s sometimes what happens. ‘Straight Outta Compton’ was a great film; I think it just lost some Academy members who are older. There were a lot of omissions of white people that I think [was] just as disappointing – I’m sure [Spotlight’s] Michael Keaton is bummed, you know?” Both movies manifested the talents of black artists.
Another anonymous member said, “I’m very offended by the idea that some people are calling us racist – race was the furthest thing from my mind when I cast my ballot, and, in fact, I nominated one person of color for an award. Such a sweeping declaration is extremely irresponsible.”
Jeremy Larner, a member of the writers’ branch, also relayed his thoughts about the issue and stated, “I cannot prove the Academy or anyone else is not racist. I have voted for many people of color for awards. I happen to think ‘Straight Outta Compton’ is not a great film for reasons of structure and substance. I can imagine it as a powerful affirmation for those who share the assumptions of its music and see it as fans. But to me, a good film has to show a lot more than this one does.”
Larner added, “It’s not a time to make enemies among those who would move us further in the direction of fairness, freedom, and justice. There were an incredible number of films in 2015 that were primarily about white people. Talk to the studios about changing that, not the Academy. There’s only so much we can do.” He went on and said, “I think when you make race the issue, it can divide people even further, and that’s what I worry about.”
Because of the Oscars 2016 nominations, Do you think that a number of black artists such as Lupita Nyong’o and the rest of the black artists will boycott the event? Catch the 88th Academy Awards this February 28, 2016.