CALLS are growing for a boycott of the Oscars over the predominance of white actors and films with only white characters.
Actress Jada Pinkett Smith and director Spike Lee said they will not be attending the ceremony for the 88th Academy Awards on 28 February over the nominations.
All 20 nominations for best actor/actress and supporting actor/actress went to white performers.
Smith, in particular, said she wouldn’t be watching, after her husband Will Smith was not nominated for his performance in the NFL movie Concussion.
In a video message on Facebook she added that it was time for “people of colour” to disregard the awards
She said: “Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power, and we are a dignified people and we are powerful.”
“Let’s let the academy do them, with all grace and love. And let’s do us differently.”
More than 4.5 million people had watched the video by Monday afternoon.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has made efforts to be more inclusive in recent years.
This year’s broadcast will be hosted by comedian Chris Rock and produced by Django Unchained producers Reginald Hudlin and David Hill.
Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the president of the film academy, said: “This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes.
“We need to do more, and better and more quickly.
“In the 60s and 70s it was about recruiting younger members to stay vital and relevant. In 2016, the mandate is inclusion in all of its facets: gender, race, ethnicity and sexual orientation.”
The issue has arisen as British actor Idris Elba accused UK TV of not having enough diversity.
Several Oscars watchers had tipped Elba for a nod for Beasts Of No Nation.
The NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton also failed to get a best picture nomination, after being recognised for its original screenplay.
In a lengthy Instagram post, Lee said he could not support the “lily white” Oscars.
British actor David Oyelowo, who missed out on a nomination for Selma last year, said: “I am an Academy member and it doesn’t reflect me, and it doesn’t reflect this nation.
“For 20 opportunities to celebrate actors of colour, actresses of colour, to be missed last year is one thing; for that to happen again this year is unforgivable.”
Fellow black actor Don Cheadle joked that he wouldn’t be seen as “they got me parking cars on G level”.
Twitter reacted quickly with the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite being widely used to comment on the issue.
Among those to tweet their concern about the nominations was New York mayor Bill de Blasio who said: “Hollywood fine with taking $ from people of colour. Also apparently fine with ignoring their talent. #OscarsSoWhite”
But The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air actress Janet Hubert, who played Aunt Viv alongside Will Smith, criticised Pinkett Smith for her comments.
Addressing the actress, she said: “Does your man not have a mouth of his own with which to speak?
“And the second thing is, there’s a lot of s*** going on in the world that you don’t seem to recognise.
“People are dying, being shot left and right, people are hungry, people are trying to pay bills – and you’re talking about actors and Oscars. It just ain’t that deep.
“Here’s the other thing. For you to ask other actors and actresses to jeopardise their career and standing in this town, you know damn well you don’t do that. Here’s the other thing — they don’t care.” – news.sky.com
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