Spike Lee Boycotting Oscars Due to Lack Of Diversity
Despite being awarded an honorary Academy Award during last year’s Governors Awards, Spike Lee announced early on Monday that he will be boycotting the Oscars due to the lack of diversity amid the nominees.
This is the second year in a row that the Academy has failed to nominate any person of color in the major acting categories, allowing the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite to resurface on social media. Lee took to Instagram to explain his outrage and disappointment with the Academy.
“We cannot support it and [I] mean no disrespect to my friends, host Chris Rock and producer Reggie Hudlin, president [Cheryl Boone] Isaacs and the Academy,” Lee posted. “But, how is it possible for the second consecutive year all 20 contenders under the acting category are white? And let’s not even get into the other branches. Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all. We can’t act?! WTF!!”
#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)
Lee explained that it was “no coincidence” that the announcement of the boycott came on the holiday that celebrates Martin Luther King Jr.
“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,’ ” Lee wrote. “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.”
Despite the controversy being connected with the Oscars, Lee noted that the “real battle” is not with the Academy, but with the Hollywood studio executives of cable and TV networks.
“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 gatekeepers decide what gets made and what gets jettisoned to “turnaround” or scrap heap. People, the truth is we ain’t in those rooms and until minorities are, the Oscar nominees will remain lilly white.” Lee explained.
Lee’s most recent film, Chi-Raq, joined the list of movies that were left out of the nominees with notable actors of color this season. Other actors thought to be nominated included Idris Elba (Beast of No Nation), Michael B. Jordan (Creed), and Will Smith (Concussion).
Lee is not the only one asking for more diversity in Hollywood. Jada Pinkett Smith started the conversation encouraging those to boycott the Oscars due to the lack of diversity among the nominees.