Controversy surrounded the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences release of the 2016 Oscar nominations. Despite the excitement surrounding this critical moment during awards season, several people were miffed that the Academy nominated only white actors and actresses in the leading and supporting categories for the second year in a row.
This instance has sparked heated debate about the racism seemingly prevalent in Hollywood and the nominating committee.
Several stars have already announced that they would be boycotting the ceremony due to the lack of diversity. On Martin Luther King Jr. Day, both filmmaker Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith announced on social media they would not be attending the ceremony taking place Feb. 28.
Spike wrote his tirade in a message on Instagram, announcing that he means no disrespect to the Academy or anyone involved in the Oscars ceremony. Soon after, he implored, “How is it possible for the 2nd consecutive year all 20 contenders under the actor category are white?” Spike then questioned, “40 white actors in 2 years and no flava at all. We can’t act?! WTF!!”
The legendary Whoopi Goldberg also spoke her mind while she was hosting “The View.” Contrary to what Spike and Jada have done, she feels that a boycott would not be productive since Chris Rock, a famous black comedian, is hosting.
Goldberg stated that she’s “pissed off” this conversation only comes up once a year and then forgotten the other eleven months. From her perspective, it is not the nominators who are to blame, she thinks that movies with people of color are not made because the money never comes. Goldberg stated that the real fight is inside the executive offices of Hollywood.
Even the president of the Academy, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, expressed her disappointment at the lack of diversity. She said in an official statement that the Academy will be taking “dramatic steps” to recruit new members that aren’t out-of-touch, old, white men. Isaacs stated she understands the critical concerns facing the non-white community while appreciating the input she has received in how to solve the diversification problem.
As the Oscars draw closer, more celebrity drama is definitely inevitable. Perhaps more celebrities will boycott the ceremony out of anger, but it is expected that more filmmakers and actors will give their two cents.