It is a month before the 88th Academy Awards and there has already been extreme controversy in Hollywood and on Twitter about the actors nominated for an Oscar this year. When the nominees were announced, only white actors were among the top four categories for the second year in a row, resulting in social media warfare.
The hashtag “#OscarsSoWhite” went viral on twitter the night of the nominee announcement, spurring thousands of protests to the lineup.
Actress Jada Pinkett Smith was the first to comment on the concern for diversity in Hollywood. She posted a video to twitter, explaining that until they do something, her and Will Smith are boycotting the Oscars.
Director Spike Lee also said he was staying home from the event, saying that he was “going to a Knicks game instead.”
“I understand the issue of racism in this country and it is important to address that, but to take it out on something as big as the Oscars seems a little unnecessary,” says senior Mallory Bash.
This social uprise gained so much attention that even President Barack Obama himself addressed it when he was speaking to David Ono on “Live From The White House,” saying that California has incredible diversity and that this uprise is all part of a much bigger and broader issue of racism in our country.
“So I think, as a whole, the [Academy] should do what every other industry should do — which is to look for talent, provide opportunity to everybody. And I think the Oscar debate is really just an expression of this broader issue. Are we making sure that everybody is getting a fair shot?” says Obama, who is not only the president, but also a large influence in the African American community.
Considering it reached the president, the issue also obviously reached the Academy who, after serious effort and consideration, have put out a new set of guidelines for nominees to further diversify the organization. These new rules include a commitment to doubling the amount the number of women and minorities in the Academy by 2020.
In the letter addressing all of the changes, the Academy said, “They are meant to be fair and inclusive in their definition of an active member of our community.”
Even with these drastic changes being made, actors are still choosing to boycott the event.
“Even with the changes, the racism of Hollywood won’t end over night,” says Lee.
Although it is very evident that we have come a long way with racism, it is definitely not completely diminished in America.
“It isn’t a matter of a certain event or situation, it is a matter of unnoticed racism always being swept under the table. This is what our country needs reevaluate and try to stop, not the Oscars,” says junior Mya Harris.
What are your thoughts on the Oscar boycott?