The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is under fire once again this year for their lack of diversity among the 2016 Oscar nominations. Aside from Best Director nominee Alejandro González Iñárritu ("The Revenant"), the nomination field is made up completely of white actors, directors, screenwriters and tech people, prompting the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag to trend once again.
Part of what makes this year's diversity snubs so outraging is the fact there were finally a handful of worthy titles and performances to choose from. From Will Smith in "Concussion" and Samuel L. Jackson in "The Hateful Eight" to entire features like "Dope," "Beasts of No Nation," "Chi-Raq" and more, it seemed likely before the nominations that this could have been (and should have been) the most diverse Oscars ever. While movies like "Creed" and "Straight Outta Compton" did receive nominations, they both were for their sole white components — Sylvester Stallone in the former and four white screenwriters in the latter.
Just as he did last year in the wake of snubs for "Selma," Spike Lee is speaking out against the Academy for these nomination injustices. Posting a lengthy open letter to his Instagram account earlier this morning, Lee not only decried the Academy for their resistance to diversity, but he also called for a 2016 Oscars boycott altogether.
Lee's letter follows in the footsteps of a video Jada Pinkett Smith posted to Facebook questioning the Academy for their decisions and calling all minorities to band together. "Begging for acknowledgment or even asking diminishes dignity and diminishes power and we are dignified people and we are powerful," she said. "So let's let the Academy do them with all grace and love and let's do us differently."
The director, on the other hand, wasted no time calling the Academy out. "But, How Is It Possible For The 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White?" he asked. "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!!"
Read all of Lee's comments in the post
#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)