“My wife’s not going. It would be awkward to show up with Charlize [Theron]," Smith told Roberts.
He also explained why the lack of diversity in nominees is hugely problematic.
“For me, at its best, Hollywood represents and then creates the imagery for that beauty," Smith said. "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… So when I look at the series of nominations of the Academy, it's not reflecting that beauty.”
Smith broke down the diversity problem within the Academy itself.
"At this point, the Academy is 94 percent Caucasian and 77 percent male,” Smith said. “It's just difficult to get a diverse cultural sampling from that group."
Former Academy president Hawk Koch (great name) agrees: “I don’t believe this is just an academy problem; rather, it’s an industry-wide problem and up until now we have not done a very good job,” Koch wrote in an open letter addressed to the entertainment industry. “And while I also don’t believe this problem can be solved quickly, I know that it can and should be solved.”
The New York Times also reports that the Academy plans to address its diversity issues at a meeting next Tuesday, possibly by expanding the field of nominees.
Updated at 11:45 a.m. on January 19: Actress Janet Hubert, who co-starred with Will Smith as Aunt Vivian on The Fresh Prince Of Bel-Air, posted a withering response to Jada Pinkett Smith's Oscars boycott. Hubert had a number of choice words for Smith in her YouTube video, taking her to task for speaking for her husband ("First of all, Miss Thing: Does your man not have a mouth of his own with which to speak?"); pressuring other actors to boycott the event ("For you to ask other actors to jeopardize their careers… you know damn well, you don't do that"); and neglecting other more important racial issues ("People are dying. Our boys are being shot left and right. People are hungry... And you're talking about some motherfucking actors and Oscars. It just ain't that deep").
Hubert also took aim at former co-star Will Smith. She accused him of failing to help his fellow actors negotiate their salaries back on Fresh Prince, and added she didn't think he deserved his Golden Globes nomination for Concussion. "You ain't Barack and Michelle Obama," the actress added. " And y'all need to get over yourselves … You are a part of Hollywood. You are a part of the system that is unfair to other actors."
Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee are boycotting the 2016 Academy Awards due to the lack of diversity among the nominees.
In a viral Facebook video, the Magic Mike XXL actress explained why she’s displeased that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences didn’t nominate any actors of color in major categories.
“Today is Martin Luther King’s birthday, and I can’t help but ask the question: Is it time that people of color recognize how much power and influence we have amassed that we no longer need to ask to be invited anywhere?” she wrote. “I ask the question: Have we come to a new time and place where we recognize that we can no longer beg for the love, acknowledge, or respect of any group?”
Lee, who earned an honorary Oscar in November 2015, also evoked the memory of King in an Instagram post: “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!!”
Both Pinkett Smith and Lee sent their best wishes to Oscars host Chris Rock. (On Friday, Rock tweeted that the ceremony was the "White BET Awards.")
John Singleton, however, does not share his colleagues' point of view. The filmmaker, who became the first African-American Best Director nominee for 1991's Boyz n the Hood, downplayed the Academy's failure to be more inclusive.
“There’s only so many slots, though,” he said in an interview with Variety. “There are a couple of movies that may have [warranted attention] but…it’s all subjective. It’s almost like the lottery.…The demographics of America and this business are changing. The Academy’s going to evolve. So I’m not really worried about it.”
Singleton did, however, say that the N.W.A biopic Straight Outta Compton should have earned Best Picture and acting nods. Produced by Ice Cube and Dr. Dre, the movie only received a Best Original Screenplay nomination (for two white writers). But Ice Cube also seemed to take the long view when considering the Academy's choices.
“I’m not pissed. You know, I’m not surprised,” he said on The Wendy Williams Show. “It’s the Oscars; they do what they do. The people loved the movie, the people supported the movie…No. 1 at the box office, over $200 million worldwide. I can’t be mad, you know.”
Idris Elba was considered a likely nominee for his performance in Beasts of No Nation, but was overlooked. Digital marketing company Amobee Brand Intelligence analyzed 600,000 social sites and discovered that Beasts of No Nation was the most-discussed snub, according to Variety.
Michael B. Jordan’s performance in Creed was ignored, as was Will Smith’s turn in Concussion. Pinkett Smith (who is Will Smith's wife) is encouraging people of color to invest in their own awards ceremonies.
“Maybe it’s time to pull back our resources and we put them back into our communities, 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-called mainstream ones,” she said.
#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)