Will Smith Won't Attend Oscars & 8 More People Who Are Speaking Out About #OscarsSoWhite
Ever since Jada Pinkett Smith's call to boycott the Academy Awards because of a lack of diversity in the nominations, actors have been speaking out in droves. Just this week, actor George Clooney published a statement in Variety in which he indicated that Hollywood was "moving in the wrong direction." Indeed, only six of 2015's top 20 highest grossing movies starred people of color, and most weren't deemed Oscar-worthy films or simply never had a chance to begin with, considering their genre (that list included Straight Outta Compton, Star Wars: the Force Awakens, San Andreas, Furious 7, Home, and Hotel Transylvania 2). Now, Pinkett's husband Will Smith has said he won't attend the Oscars this year — marking yet another heavy blow to the Academy.
"We've discussed it," Smith told Good Morning America co-anchor Robin Roberts on Thursday. "We're part of this community but at this current time, we're uncomfortable to stand there and say that this is okay." He then joked that it might look strange for him to arrive at the award show without Pinkett Smith, quipping, "My wife’s not going [so] it would be awkward to show up with Charlize [Theron]."
In The Hollywood Reporter, Academy Awards CEO Dawn Hudson this week agreed that there was an underlying problem, blaming "white men running the studios who hire other people who look just like them." Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs released a statement via Twitter as well, saying that she was "heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion," and vowed to improve diversity within the Academy's membership.
Spike Lee, who was just recently awarded an honorary Oscar, will not be attending, but has walked back his protest, clarifying on Good Morning America on Wednesday that he had "never used the word 'boycott'" but still intended to skip the ceremony anyway. Plenty of other people have had strong things to say about #OscarsSoWhite, as well, since the controversy first began earlier this month.
Nyong'o made a brief but important appearance in Star Wars: the Force Awakens as a motion-capture alien, and took home the Best Supporting Actress award in 2014 for her role in 12 Years a Slave.
The actor, who was famously snubbed for his role in Selma last year, spoke out at a gala honoring Cheryl Boone Isaacs on Monday night. "The Academy is an institution in which they all say radical and timely change cannot happen quickly," he said. "It better happen quickly."
British actor Idris Elba spoke to Parliament on Monday regarding diversity not only in entertainment, but beyond. "My agent and I, we'd get scripts and we were always asked to read the 'black male' character. Or the 'athletic type.' But when a script called for a 'black male,' it wasn't describing a character, it was describing a skin color."
Elba has faced racist criticism for his casting as Heimdall in the Thor franchise, as well as the possibility of him portraying the next James Bond. (Anthony Horowitz famously told The Daily Mail that Elba was "too street" to play Bond, which is literally insane. Look at him.)
Cheadle is keeping things light, making jokes on Twitter while also tweeting serious articles on the subject of diversity. He also got into it with some racist trolls, calling the Oscars a "silly contest," but emphasizing that everyone should get "a fair shot at the same ridiculousness."
Rock is hosting the Oscars, and has largely stayed quiet regarding the diversity problem, save from the one joke he's made on Twitter. Fans are calling for him to step down as host, but perhaps he can exact better change from the inside?
Rapper 50 Cent took time off from his full-time job feuding with Meek Mill to post this now-deleted meme (I didn't realize that George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan's ghost were on the committee).
50 also posted a photo of host Rock on Instagram with the caption, "Chris please do not do the oscars awards. You mean a lot man, don't do it. Please."
If I were @chrisrock, I wouldn't be considering boycotting The Oscars. I'd be thinking "this shit is live. I can do some serious damage."— Ricky Gervais (@rickygervais) January 19, 2016
Gervais knows a thing or two about hosting awards shows, having just hosted his fourth Golden Globes this month, and he's never censored himself — whether from biting commentary or completely offensive jokes.
"Chris Rock do the right thing, make a statement," Gibson wrote in the caption of an Instagram post this week. "We're relying on you to DO the right thing."
Gibson also called for Rock to step down from his hosting duties, according to People. "There is no joke that he can crack," said Gibson. "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 host.' The statement that you make is that you step down."