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Director Spike Lee Won't Attend Oscars 2016 Due to Lack of Diversity in Nominations

Director Spike Lee Won't Attend Oscars 2016 Due to Lack of Diversity in Nominations

Spike Lee has just announced that he will not attend the 2016 Oscars due to the lack of diversity in the nominees.

The 58-year-old director, who was set to receive an honorary Oscar at the ceremony, made the announcement on his Instagram page on Martin Luther King day.

“For too many years, when the Oscar 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,” Spike wrote. “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.”

The Academy released a short statement about the lack of diversity after the nominations were revealed. Jada Pinkett-Smith has debated boycotting the show as well for the same reason.

Click inside to read everything Spike Lee wrote…

#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.

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Posted to: 2016 Oscars, Spike Lee

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  • ImOpining

    So now we are to pick a best movie by the color of the actors/actresses skin rather than the quaility of the movie or the actors/actresses?

  • David Cook

    How can they carry on the Oscars without Spike?

  • rob

    OK, so find someone else to give Spike’s award to. I’m surprised he was receiving one anyway.

  • Cruizin1960

    IMO, any actor, director who boycotts the Oscars claiming there is some sort of intentional slight to people of color should be blacklisted and lose their membership in the academy. The point of the Oscars is excellence in their particular area. If you want to be nominated – excel. If the Oscars are reduced to another Affirmative Action display – they lose credibility. There are 5 slots each for these nominations…FIVE. Certain actors and types of films will always be the “darlings” of the academy – that is just the way it is. But these award shows are always subjective. I look at the Golden Globe nominees and the Oscar nominees and I don’t see much difference. Smith and Elba did receive nods, but perhaps that has more to do with the fact that the Globes split movies into Drama and Comedy….and when the two categories are merged these two didn’t make the cut. But to boycott – really? Who care? These people only have a job in the first place because the moviegoers pay the ridiculous price to view their work.

  • benfbeckmaN

    What a dumbass. So they should pick more black actors only to even it out even if their performances weren’t good ?

  • SS

    I am sorry but the Oscars are a joke. The Revenant was torture to sit through, Room was torture to sit through, Charlotte Rampling who excels every other actress in her category took years to be nominated. I watch the Oscars every year but will not do so this year — fed up of mediocre fare like The Martian being nominated.

  • Will

    And it’s been six years since a female director has received a nod so why aren’t they boycotting that, because only one struggle is worth fighting for which is why we won’t support you if you don’t support women.

  • rob

    OK, I got equality. If a college is 70% white, I want all teams to be the same. If a city is 51% white, I want 51% gov’t employees to be white. etc, etc, etc…
    If the white folks quit buying college and professional game tickets, all the programs would be shut down within 2 years. Look at the stands, less then 5% black. And don’t give me no crap about they can’t afford it, it just ain’t what they want to spend their money on.
    In my opinion only, what most black movies are based on, is not of interest to me. Sometimes, yes, but mostly no. Never liked anything by Spike, can’t remember anything by Jada.
    For God’s sake, quit whining.

  • SquidBillie

    Newsflash Spike, Jada, and all the other whiners: Entertianment awards shows are supposed to be based on merit and do not have affirmative action. Stay home, you won’t be missed.

  • justno

    Wells said.

  • devvv

    You are all missing the point. No one is saying that people should be nominated based on their skin color alone. The point is that people like Jennifer Lawrence and Bradley Cooper get nominated every year for very average performances, when more deserving PoC are overlooked. There has been a lack of diversity for years. This year Will Smith, Benicio del Toro, Idris Elba, Oscar Isaac, and the entire cast/crew of Straight Outta Compton were snubbed. Last year Ava Duvernay and David Oyelowo were snubbed. The point is actors, directors, and people of color in general have to work 50x harder than their white counterparts to get half of the recognition.

  • krtmom

    Wow what a shame! What has he done in the past few years except insight trouble? Loser!!!

  • SquidBillie

    And the “average” thing is your own opinion. Maybe alot of people thought Will Smith’s performance was average, the accent was certainly distracting. Johnny Depp did a brilliant job as Whitey Bulgar, and he was snubbed, among other whites. It goes both ways. Benicio del Toro has won an Oscar, so do your homework.

  • j b

    Spike Lee has always been an incredibly huge racist so this shouldn’t shock anyone. He would have not came if only one black was nominated no doubt.

  • Gina

    Why, was Will Smith’s accent too ethnic (i.e African) for you? Do you not realize the racist undertones of your statement?

  • Ash

    Wow this is the new low. The entitlement mentality is getting out of control and out of touch with reality. All they care about is why there aren’t enough colored people being nominated instead of people who are deserved to get nominated because they are great actors/directors/producers regardless of race, gender, religion and etc. SO, WHO’S RACIST HERE?

  • devvv

    Firstly, obviously it’s an opinion. Every award show is based on opinion. It’s just pretty notable that opinion favors white actors year after year. Secondly, please direct me to the part of my original statement that stated that Benicio del Toro didn’t have an Oscar. If winning an Oscar disqualified someone from being nominated, half of this year’s nominees wouldn’t have been nominated. Lastlly, Will Smith was playing someone who was Nigerian. The accent might have been distracting to you but it was a part of the role.

  • j b

    Europeans/Americans should have just left those black people in Africa to hunt wild pigs with spears. Slavery has had very bad results for what could have been a nice non-racist world. There has been nothing but trouble since they were forced into the white man’s society.

  • Raspitou

    It’s part of a larger, mathematical issue.

    There are simply fewer Black films and actors out there. Because they’re a minority. Well, and other reasons too that may be rooted in a larger historical and socioeconomic unfairness. But the fact remains. There are far, far fewer options to choose from…therefore, you cannot expect the number of nominees to be anywhere close. That’s the way it is.

    It’s an obtuse argument. And if you look at a lot of Black film, it’s stuff like the Tyler Perry movies or Ride Along 2 and what have you. Not that many Oscar-type prestige movies. Of course, you do have some Black actors with roles in big films, like Will Smith’s Concussion or Samuel L Jackson in the new Tarantino picture. But, by and large, your odds of getting nominated are much, much smaller simply because of the sample size.

    If you want to stand out, make better films. And more films. But even then, you will still be a minority. Asians and Hispanics and Native Americans could make the same complaint.

  • devvv

    LOL It’s amazing that someone can take a statement about an award show and make it about slavery. Your statement needs a little revising, though. There’s been nothing but trouble since Europe invaded land that didn’t belong to them to build a country on the genocide of one race and the pain/enslavement of another.

  • siennagold

    Well if he boycotts then so be it.

  • xyz

    Perfect! Good riddance, u wont be missed!

  • lshelton22

    Actions speak louder than words, Spike. Give back that honorary Oscar that the Academy just gave you (for unknown, baffling reasons). Oh wait? You still want it, don’t you? LOL. Okay, Uncle Tom. You’ll boycott in outrage but still take one of their statuettes for yourself. I see you.

  • Andrew

    There is a glaring error in this article. SPIKE LEE ALREADY RECEIVED THE HONORARY OSCAR AT THE GOVERNOR’S BALL IN NOVEMBER. He’s welcome to return it now.

  • cp

    hmmm i think the colour of skin doesnt have nothing to do with who win the oscars ,if they are no nomination for some people is becuase that people are not talented or the movie they did is not popular in the world. so if anybody want an oscar first they have to be talented and then the movie they do has to be promoted and popular. some movies are lack in content and do not deserve to get an oscar, noways there is a lack of talented in many areas, including the film industry so , dont blame the colour of skin to get an oscar because thats unfair

  • Shenanigans

    the voice of wisdom. Couldn’t have said it better myself.

  • Shenanigans

    the truth is, if there’s a performance by a white actor in the same league as one with a non-white actor, the non-white actor WILL be overlooked. The people deciding who gets to be nominated are old, white folks. I mean, what do you expect?

    A PoC has to achieve something extraordinary to land a cover with Vogue, yet has beens like Kate Hudson and Blake lively, who haven’t done anything memorable in years, land multiple covers in a given year.

    See the unfairness in it? It’s a little uncomfortable for a lot of people to face, but its reality.

  • siennagold

    Are Asian actors also boycotting the Oscars? Haven’t seen an Asian actor won in the major acting categories in decades. I think Asians should be the one complaining instead of the Blacks. Why do they only refer to Blacks when they talk of lack of diversity? How about Asians, Hispanics, Native Americans?

  • ImOpining

    If you watched, you saw how easy it was to do.

  • David Cook

    ImOpining Do you not understand sarcasm?

  • ImOpining

    My apologies, Mr. Cook.
    Had not yet had my coffee ;)