Oscars: Spike Lee Refuses to Attend Awards Due to All-White Acting Nominees

Courtesy of Michael Yada/A.M.P.A.S
Spike Lee and Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs

"40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can't Act?! WTF!!"

Spike Lee is refusing to attend this year's Oscars due to the fact that for the second year in a row, all of the acting nominees are white.

The filmmaker, who was awarded an honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards in November, said that while he appreciated that recognition, he and his wife "cannot support" this year's Academy Awards.

"Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy," Lee wrote in an Instagram post on Monday morning. "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!!"

Lee's comments accompanied a photo of Martin Luther King Jr. and were posted on the federal holiday commemorating his birthday, something Lee said seemed appropriate.

"It's No Coincidence I'm Writing This As We Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday," Lee wrote. "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 goes on to say that while he's often asked about the lack of African-American nominees, he thinks the "white nominees and studio heads" should be asked about the lack of diversity around the Oscar nominees for the past two years.

Lee also echoes the argument put forth by many entertainment industry insiders that it's really up to Hollywood executives to create opportunities for and make movies starring diverse actors.

"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," Lee writes. "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."

Lee's film Chi-Raq was among those that failed to earn any Oscar nominations. Diverse actors considered likely nominees but were left out of the Oscars' list included Will Smith (Concussion), Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), Benicio del Toro (Sicario), Michael B. Jordan (Creed) and Samuel L. Jackson (The Hateful Eight).

Both Creed and NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton only received one Oscar nomination each, honors that went to white people involved with those films.

Smith's wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, earlier this weekend suggested a potential boycott of the Oscars by people of color in light of the lack of diversity among nominees.

 

#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)

A photo posted by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on

 

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. - His senior photo from Morehouse College (Class of 1948) Good morning, people. With my essay " #OscarsSoWhite ...Again" that I posted yesterday, it was cut off half way through. This is the remainder of it. Please read and Thank You for your love and support for the position my wife, Ms. Tonya Lewis Lee and I have taken for the upcoming 2016 Oscars. ------------------------ As I Said In My Honorary Oscar Acceptance Speech, It's Easier For An African-American To Be President Of The United States Than Be President Of A Hollywood Studio. Also The United States Census Bureau Released A Report Stating White Americans Will Be A Minority In America By The Year 2044. Don't You Think It's A Wise Business Decision To Have Your Product And Workforce Reflect The Diversity Of The Greatest Country On This God's Earth? I Ask, What's The Hold Up? And Please... Don't Go To The Well And Say There Are No Qualified Minority Candidates For These Green Light Gate Keeping Positions. It's Amazing How Far Sports And Music Have Moved Ahead Of Hollywood And Television, But Maybe We Can Learn From Them Too. Your Honor, I Present Exhibit A: The National Football League's Rooney Rule. It's Named After The Late Dan Rooney, Owner Of The Pittsburgh Steelers. Mr. Rooney Was Also Chairman Of The League's Diversity Committee. The Rooney Rule States NFL Teams MUST Interview Minority Candidates For The Positions Of Head Coach And Senior Football Executives Before Hires. Since Being Put In Place Before The 2006 Season, African-American Hires Have Increased. Facebook And Pinterest Have Their Own Version Of The Rooney Rule To Hire Minorities. Why Can't Hollywood Do The Same? It's Worth The Effort Or It Will Be The Same Old Hi-Jinks. I Do Hope In My Children's Lifetime Things Will Change For The Betterment Of All Americans. A Great Diverse America. Spike Lee Filmmaker Da Republic Of Brooklyn, New York MLK Day January 18th, 2016

A photo posted by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on

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