Academy Releases Statement After Stars Call For Oscars Boycott

19 January 2016 | 5:29 pm | Staff Writer

Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith & more say they won't be watching.

Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs has issued an official statement following calls for a boycott of the 2016 Oscars, after a number of black actors and celebrities including Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith have slammed the lack of diversity amongst the nominees. 

In a statement released on The Academy's Twitter account, Isaacs said of the lack of black actor nominations, "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."

Isaacs' statement comes just hours after director and producer Lee questioned why the categories have been dominated by white actors for a second straight year.

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"How is it possible for the 2nd consecutive year all 20 contenders under the actor category are white?" Lee wrote in an Instagram post.

"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?!"

A number of black actors were surprisingly overlooked for a nomination this year even though they gave critically acclaimed performances including Idris Elba for Beasts Of No Nation, Will Smith for ConcussionMichael B Jordan for Creed and Straight Outta Compton stars O'Shea Jackson Jr, Jason Mitchell and Corey Hawkins.

The hashtag "#OscarsSoWhite" has also been trending since the nominations were announced last week.


#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

Meanwhile Pinkett Smith announced in a video posted to her Facebook that she would not be attending this year's ceremony. 

"The Academy has the right to acknowledge whomever they choose, to invite whomever they choose and now I think it’s our responsibility now to make the change," Pinkett Smith said. 

"Maybe it’s time we pull back our resources and put them back into our communities and into our programs and we make programs for ourselves that acknowledge us in ways we see fit that are just as good as the so-called ‘mainstream’ ones."

"Begging for acknowledgement and asking diminishes dignity and diminishes power and we are a dignified people and powerful. Let’s not forget it."

We must stand in our power!

We must stand in our power.

Posted by Jada Pinkett Smith on Monday, 18 January 2016

Earlier today US rapper Snoop Dogg also confirmed he wouldn't be watching this year either, saying in a video posted to Instagram, "Why the fuck am I gonna watch that bullshit for?"

"All these great movies and all this great shit you all keep stealing from us, fuck you."

The Academy's statement comes just days after the executive producer for NWA biopic called this year's nominations "embarrassing", after it picked up just one nod for Best Original Screenplay.


Fuck da. Oscars

A video posted by snoopdogg (@snoopdogg) on