For the second year in a row all of the nominees for the Oscars within the acting categories are white. The lack of diversity shown within the award nominees has influenced people such as, Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith to boycott the entire ceremony causing a popular topic of debate over the last few months.
There has been discussion as to why so few of the nominees are people of color. It is believed that executives and other professionals behind the financing of movies are hesitant to risk their money with a cast predominantly made up of people of color. However, the risk does not seem to exist anymore, as movies such as “Concussion,” “Creed,” and “Straight Outta Compton” were successful and included cast and crew with people of color. “Straight Outta Compton” grossed more than $200 million at the box office, proving that people of color are given the opportunity.
The only diversity in this year’s Oscar nominees is a Mexican film director, Alejandro G. Inarrito, for the film “The Revenant” and Filipino screenwriter, Ronnie del Carmen, who was one of the many writers nominated for “Inside Out”. The host of the Oscars this year is Chris Rock who is definitely aware of the controversy. He tweeted a picture of the Oscars promotion and captioned it “White BET Awards”. The people boycotting the Oscars are vocal in their support of Rock saying that even though they will not be in attendance or even watching from home they support him fully.
Not all celebrities of color are supporting the boycott however. Janet Hubor, who was Will Smith’s co-star on “Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” made a video response to Jada Pinkett Smith’s opinions on the Oscars. Hubor saw the actress’s response to the nominations as acting out because her husband was not nominated. Recently, when questioned about Hubor’s comments Smith responded saying that he has no ill-will towards Hubor, but he still stands by his wife. Smith also states that the issue is so much more than him not getting an Oscar nomination and even if he was nominated the lack of diversity would remain an issue.
People are choosing to boycott the Oscars in hopes that raising awareness of the issue will help create change. The Oscars welcome people of color to hand out awards yet they are rarely rewarded for their talents. The purpose of the boycott is to bring attention to the deserving people of color whose talents are being ignored and overlooked. Will Smith said that if he were to not take a stand and bring attention to the problem, then he would be condoning it. Instead, he and other celebrities are speaking out in hopes that one day children will be able to watch the Oscars and see someone like them no matter their ethnicity, that they will have the opportunity to witness diversity.