Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith Boycotting 2016 Oscars, Chris Rock Calls Out Academy for ‘White BET Awards’

Gary Gershoff / Jason Merritt, Getty Images

For the second year in a row, every actor nominated in all four acting categories at the Academy Awards is a white person. All 20 nominees for Best Actor and Actress and Best Supporting Actor and Actress are white people, reigniting the Twitter hashtag #OscarsSoWhite. And while many of us are comfortable in our power to merely comment via social media, there are a couple of strong voices who are fed up and ready to do something about it: director Spike Lee and actor Jada Pinkett Smith have announced plans to boycott the Oscars this year, while the host of the 2016 awards himself has called the Academy out for their persistent negligence to nominate people of color.

The Oscars are not entirely white this year, as The Revenant director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu received a nomination, but he is the exception to the majority white rule. Although Spike Lee received an Honorary Oscar this year for his enduring work as a powerful voice in cinema, the director has decided to boycott the ceremony itself, posting an open letter to the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences and President Cheryl Boone Isaacs on Instagram, aptly incorporating a quote from the late Martin Luther King Jr. today, on MLK’s birthday:


Jada Pinkett Smith joined Lee in boycotting the Oscars after her husband, fellow actor Will Smith, was one of many people of color to not receive a nomination this year. Smith was nominated for a Golden Globe for his role in Concussion, and has been nominated twice for an Oscar, in 2002 and 2007.

Pinkett Smith posted this video to Facebook with the caption, “We must stand in our power”:

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