Will Smith Won’t Attend This Year’s Oscars Amidst Mounting Controversy Over Nominees
The Oscars were already overwhelmingly white; now they’ve gotten even whiter.
In a serious interview with Good Morning America, Will Smith announced that he will not attend this year’s Academy Awards in response to what he described as an organization that’s “going in the wrong direction,” as reflected by this year’s extremely homogeneous list of acting nominees.
“I’ve been nominated twice for Academy Awards,” Smith told GMA’s Robin Roberts. “And I’ve never lost to a white person! The first time I lost to Denzel and the second time I lost to Forest Whitaker. So, for me, that was huge.” While calling everyone who was nominated for an acting Oscar in 2016 “fantastic” and “deserving,” Smith also said he saw these nominations as symptomatic of the “regressive slide” in our country “towards separatism, towards racial and religious disharmony.”
Here are more of Smith’s powerful words.
“I think that diversity is the American super-power. That’s why we’re great. So many different people from so many different places adding their ideas, their inspiration, and their influences to this beautiful American gumbo ... for me, at its best, Hollywood represents and then creates the imagery for that beauty. But for my part, I think that I have to protect and fight for the ideals that make our country and make our Hollywood community great. And so when I look at the series of nominations of the Academy, it’s not reflecting that beauty.”
Smith also insisted it’s untrue that he and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith — who was the first member of the Smith family to announce a boycott of this year’s Oscars — are primarily upset he wasn’t nominated (as many predicted) for his performance in Concussion. “This is so deeply not about me,” Smith countered. “This is about children who are going to sit down, and they’re going to watch this show, and they’re not going to see themselves represented.”
So Will Smith will join his wife in her Oscar boycott, another big blow to this year’s awards. At this point, there’s very little to be done about 2016’s Academy Awards; the nominations are out there and they’re not getting changed. But perhaps very public moves like this one, will push the Academy (and Hollywood as a whole) to step up their efforts to make the changes in their membership that are so clearly necessary. And definitely watch the entire Will Smith GMA interview to hear more of his comments on this important subject.