Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith to Boycott Whitewashed Oscars

Justin Caffier
(Photo: OBSEV / Getty)

Last week’s woefully diversity-free Oscar nominations sparked a bit of outrage online, but it turns out the controversy was just getting started.

Today, Jada Pinket Smith and Spike Lee have individually announced they’ll be boycotting the 88th Annual Academy Awards over the Academy's failure to nominate any people of color (sans Alejandro Iñárritu) in any acting or directing categories.

Pinkett Smith, whose husband Will was arguably snubbed for his portrayal of Dr. Bennet Omalu in Concussion, took to Facebook with a video that calmly and collectedly explained why she would not be attending or watching this year’s broadcast.

“We are a dignified people and we are powerful—let’s not forget it,” she explained. “So let’s let the Academy do them with all grace and love and let’s do us differently.”

Spike Lee, similarly, took to Instagram to express his frustration and displeasure, stating that he too would not be in attendance.

We must stand in our power!

We must stand in our power.

Posted by Jada Pinkett Smith on Monday, January 18, 2016

Lee said that while his grievance with the Academy’s lack of diverse nominations was legitimate, the true crux of the problem lies in a dearth of POC in executive positions within the film studios. With nobody to greenlight diverse films, how are diverse casts supposed to get accolades?

People, The Truth Is We Ain't In Those Rooms And Until Minorities Are, The Oscar Nominees Will Remain Lilly White [sic throughout]," he lamented.

Comedian Chris Rock will be hosting the ceremony this year, so it’s not difficult to imagine that, like in years past, he’ll have a choice comment or two about the whiteness of the industry.

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