Will Smith The Latest To Boycott This Year's Oscars

22 January 2016 | 11:28 am | Staff Writer


US actor Will Smith is the latest star to publicly announce he will not be attending this year's Oscars, following calls from a number of celebrities to boycott the event due to a lack of diversity amongst the nominees. 

Just days after Smith's wife Jada Pinkett Smith released a video on Facebook calling for black actors to "make the change", the 47-year-old told Good Morning America that he too would not attend the Oscars, though he stressed it was not about his own personal agenda, after he missed out on a nomination for Best Actor in the upcoming film Concussion, for which his performance was critically praised.

"This is so deeply not about me," Smith said. 

"This is about children that are going to sit down and they’re going to watch this show and they’re not going to see themselves represented."

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Smith revealed that he was unaware that his wife made the Facebook video as he was out of the country at the time.

"I heard her words and I was knocked over, I was happy to be married to that woman," he said of the video. 

"There is a position that we hold in this community and if we’re not a part of the solution, we’re a part of the problem. It was her call to action for herself and for me and for our family to be a part of the solution."

Smith, who has previously been nominated for Academy Awards for Ali in 2001 and The Pursuit Of Happyness in 2006, stressed that Pinkett Smith did not make the video purely because he missed out on a nomination. 

"There’s probably a part of that in there, but for Jada, had I been nominated and no other people of colour were, she would have made the video anyway," he explained. 

"At this current time we’re uncomfortable to stand there and say that this is OK."

The news comes just days after the Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs said that she is "heartbroken and frustrated" by the lack of diversity in this year's event, while names such as Spike Lee and Snoop Dogg are also boycotting the event alongside Smith and Pinkett Smith.

Music icon and seven-time Oscar nominee Quincy Jones has been asked to present at the ceremony, though speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, the 82-year-old said he would only do so under his terms. 

"They called me to go present with Pharrell and Common," he said.

"When I'm back [in Los Angeles], I'm going to ask [them] to let me speak for five minutes on the lack of diversity. If not, I'm not going to [present]."

Meanwhile, calls have grown stronger for this year's host, comedian Chris Rock, to withdraw from the role given the controversial circumstances. 

In an interview with People, actor Tyrese Gibson said the biggest statement Rock could make about the controversy would be to step down as host. 

"There is no joke that he can crack. There is no way for him to seize the moment and come into this thing and say, 'I'm going to say this and say that I'm going to address the issue but then I'm still going to keep my gig as the host,'" Gibson said. 

"The statement that you make is that you step down."