The #oscarssowhite controversy continues to swirl, and if it hasn’t already, it’s beginning to overshadow the ceremonies next month. Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith, George Clooney, David Oyelowo, and Idris Elba, are some of the high profile names that have spoken out in regards to the issue, while a small chorus is calling for Chris Rock to step down from his hosting duties at the Oscars. And now, two more names have shared there views about the current state of industry.
Will Smith talked with “Good Morning America,” and takes a position similar to that of Clooney, that the Academy used to do a better job of highlighting performances by people of color. The actor points out that he’s been nominated twice, and lost to Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker on those occasions. However, this year’s slate of nominees gave him pause.
“…when I see this list and series of nominations that come out — and everybody is fantastic. That’s the complexity of this issue. […] But it feels like it’s going in the wrong direction,” he said.
“I think diversity is the American superpower. That’s why we’re great. So many different people from so many different places adding their ideas, their inspiration and influences to this beautiful American gumbo,” Smith also said. “For me, at it’s best, Hollywood represents and then creates the imagery for that beauty. But for my part, I think I have to protect and fight for the ideals that make our country and Hollywood community great. So when I look at the series of nominations from the Academy, it’s not reflecting that beauty.”
The actor adds he won’t be attending the Oscars this year, which makes a lot of sense considering his wife isn’t going either, but adds, “We have to figure it out. We have to make it right.”
Meanwhile, Marlon Wayans stopped by ESPN‘s “First Take” and took a somewhat less sophisticated view. He pointed out that while he was not pleased to see minorities left out of the Oscar nominees, the show is called the Oscars, “not the Jamals.” He also added that the BET Awards don’t nominate white people (though Macklemore won once). Again, his view is a bit more simplistic, but you can see the interviews with both Smith and Wayans (which starts about 3:40) below.