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The Oscars Blackout - Black Hollywood reacts to lack of diversity among Oscar nominations

JOCELYN NOVECK | 1/22/2016, 5:31 p.m. | Updated on 1/22/2016, 6:24 p.m.
A year after host Neil Patrick Harris quipped that the Oscars were honoring Hollywood’s “best and Whitest,” the Academy of ...
John Krasinski, left, and Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs announce the Academy Awards nominations for best performance by an actress in a supporting role – all White actresses – at the 88th Academy Awards nomination ceremony on Jan. 14 in Beverly Hills, Califonia. Chris Pizzello of Invision

Many tweeted their disapproval on Thursday.

“I love @TheSlyStallone,” wrote indie director Joe Carnahan, “But Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson & Ryan Coogler don’t get noms for CREED!? Come on Academy.”

“Zero nonwhite actors have been nominated for Oscars,” tweeted the Tribeca Film Festival. “There’s no excuse.”

On Monday, Director Spike Lee tweeted a statement to The Academy, thanking them for his honorary Oscar in November. He then stated that he and his wife would not be attending the awards ceremony.

“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!!” he expressed. “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.’”

Jada Pinkett Smith uploaded a video on Facebook announcing her boycott of the Oscars on Monday.

“Hi, today is Martin Luther King’s birthday, and I can’t help but ask the question, ‘Is it time for people of color to recognize how much power influence that we have amass, that we no longer need to ask to be invited anywhere?’” she stated. “I ask the question, ‘Have we now come to a new time and place that we can no longer beg for the love, acknowledgement or respect of any group?’ Maybe it’s time that we recognize that if we love, respect and acknowledge ourselves in a way in which we are asking others to do, that that is the place of true power.”

Her message included a note to Rock that she won’t attend or watch, but thought he was perfect for the “job at hand.”

Compton did receive a screenwriting nod, and one of its writers said she sees hope for change on the diversity issue in Hollywood.

“I was actually at a town hall meeting on diversity last night, and I think it’s an exciting time to be having this conversation in Hollywood,” writer Andrea Berloff said. “It is not being ignored, and there’s a lot of us working at a more grassroots level to try to turn the tides.”

Berloff added that there was a key positive note for women in the nominations list: four women nominated for their screenplays this year.

“That’s a huge success,” she said, “and I hope we can really take the time to celebrate. It’s a huge victory.”

Pinkett Smith, however, doesn’t believe that waiting for acknowledgement is the answer.

“Here’s what I believe, the academy has the right to acknowledge whomever they choose, to invite whomever they choose. And now I think that it’s our responsibility now to make the change. Maybe it is time that we pull back our resources and we put them back into our community, into our programs, and we make programs for ourselves that acknowledge us in ways that we see fit, that are just as good as the so-call ‘mainstream’ ones.”

Michael Cidoni Lennox, Sandy Cohen and Jake/Associated Press along with Robyn H. Jimenez/The Dallas Examiner contributed to this report.