Once again, the Oscar nomination pool is nearly exclusively white, and some Hollywood heavyweights are not having it.
Actress Jada Pinkett Smith and director Spike Lee have said they will boycott the 2016 Oscar ceremony after the Academy awarded Best Actor and Actress nominations to only white performers. Pinkett Smith's husband, Will Smith, was among the leading contenders for a Best Actor nomination for his performance in the NFL drama Concussion. Lee, who was awarded an Honorary Oscar the Academy's Governor's Ball in November, was expected to attend in recognition of his recent honor.
Lee made the announcement on his Instagram on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day:
Pinkett Smith made her announcement via a Facebook video, saying:
[People of color] no longer need to ask to be invited anywhere...The Academy has the right to acknowledge whomever they choose...Maybe it is time that we pull back our resources and put them back into our communities...Hey Chris [Rock, the host of the 2016 Oscars], I will not be at the Academy Awards and I won't be watching.
But one Hollywood performer is not impressed with Pinkett Smith's boycott. Janet Hubert, who played Aunt Viv on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air until she was replaced — a casting change she blames on co-star Will Smith — accused Pinkett Smith of hypocrisy in a YouTube video in which she said the following:
I find it ironic that somebody who has made their living, and made millions and millions of dollars from the very people you’re talking about boycotting just because you didn’t get a nomination, just because you didn’t win. That is not the way life works, baby...You ain’t Barack and Michelle Obama. Ya’ll need to get over yourselves.
The Oscars will be broadcast on February 28.