Why The 2016 Academy Awards Might Be The Most Controversial One Yet
As the #OscarsSoWhite tweets come pouring in, once again, the 2016 Oscars seems to be under fire more than ever before. But between the Academy president’s apology and the actors boycotting, here’s why the 2016 Academy Awards might be the most important Oscars yet. Will you be tuning in?
The Academy President Actually Apologized
In 2016, Black Twitter seems to be having more of an impact than ever. And those #OscarsSoWhite tweets definitely haven’t been falling on deaf ears.
In an unprecedented move, Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs apologized for the 2016 Oscars’ lack of diversity.
“Of course I am disappointed, but this is not to take away the greatness (of the films nominated).
A lot of great work was done this year. However, we are not stopping. We are not deterred. We are moving forward and will continue to move forward with conversation and action.
That needs to happen not just within the Academy, but the entire motion picture industry: to nurture, grow (and) promote talent, in front of and behind the camera.”
What About The Greatness Of The Films And Stars Not Nominated?
No one at the Academy has mentioned the fact that several great actors and filmmakers of color were passed over for nominations this year.
Aside from Sylvester Stallone, the movies Creed (despite Michael B. Jordan winning the Boston Online Film Critics Best Actor Award), Concussion (Will Smith received a Golden Globe nomination) and Beasts of No Nation (Idris Elba was nominated for a Golden Globe, BAFTA, and Screen Actors Guild Award) received no nominations.
Straight Outta Compton did receive a nomination for its screenplay — penned by a team of White writers.
While #OscarsSoWhite, The Entertainment Industry Is Blacker Than Ever
Was Selma star David Oyelowo hinting at Academy backlash when he pointed out that while the Oscars are whiter than ever, the box office is blacker than ever?
“We have a situation whereby currently the biggest movie in the world and of all time [Star Wars: The Force Awakens] is led by a black man. That film was knocked off the top spot this weekend by a film led by two black men, Ride Along 2. The biggest TV show on the planet is led by black people, Empire.”
Jada Pinkett Smith Is Boycotting
“Let’s let the academy do them, with all grace and love. And let’s do us differently.”
Over 4.5 million viewers saw Jada Pinkett Smith’s MLK Day Facebook video, in which she announced her plans to boycott the Oscars.
And she’s not the only powerful Hollywood figure who’s calling for an Oscars boycott.
Spike Lee Won’t Go Or Watch Either
Spike Lee shared this statement on Instagram yesterday to explain why he wasn’t going to the Oscars either:
“It’s No Coincidence I’m Writing This As We Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s Birthday.
…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.”
But Not Everyone Is Upset
Boyz n the Hood director John Singleton, the first African-American director nominated for an Oscar, recently told Variety that people find something to complain about every year.
“It’s like every year people complain. People even complain even when we have a lot of nominations. It is what it is. I’ve been in the game for 25 years. You never know — it’s the luck of the draw for you. To me, I’m not surprised. I’m not disappointed either, as much as other people are disappointed.”
And he’s not the only one who feels that way.
Janet Hubert Called Jada Pinkett Smith’s Boycott “Suspect”
Actress Janet Hubert released a video on Facebook criticizing Jada Pinkett Smith for griping about the Oscars when the Black community has much bigger problems — and for turning on the hands that feed her and her husband Will Smith — just because he wasn’t nominated for an award.
No One Appreciates The Sequel
Last year was the first time Oscar nominees were all white since 1998. And the sequel to #OscarsSoWhite has some very important and influential industry leaders very upset — and calling for change.
Gil Robertson, president of the African-American Film Critics Association, had this to say about the 2016 Oscars nominations list:
“I thought I was watching a sequel. It’s almost the exact same scenario, but more offensive. … There needs to be changes across the board. It’s like beating an old horse every year.”
Viewership Is Already Down
Last year’s Oscars — the first #OscarsSoWhite — had the lowest viewership in six years, down 16 percent from the year before.
But Chris Rock Seems To Be Taking It All In Stride
Although he has reportedly come under pressure to pull out of his hosting gig, 2016 Oscars host Chris Rock seems to be taking #OscarsSoWhite in stride, calling the upcoming ceremony “The White BET Awards.”
Will You Be Watching?
Let us know in the comments!