Jada Pinkett-Smith & Spike Lee Boycott The Oscars Over Lack Of Diversity Among Nominees. Will Others Join Them? (Video)

Video After The Jump

NEW YORK (AP) — Calls for a boycott of the Academy Awards are growing over the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences' second straight year of mostly white nominees, as Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith each said Monday that they will not attend this year's ceremony.

In a lengthy Instagram post, Lee said he "cannot support" the "lily white" Oscars. Noting that he was writing on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Lee — who in November said he was fed up: "Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all," he wrote. "We can't act?!"

In a video message on Facebook, Pinkett Smith also said she wouldn't attend or watch the Oscars in February. Pinkett Smith, whose husband Will Smith wasn't nominated for his performance in the NFL head trauma drama "Concussion," said it was time for people of color to disregard the Academy Awards.

"Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power," she said. "And we are a dignified people and we are powerful."

She added: "Let's let the academy do them, with all grace and love. And let's do us differently."

Last year's all-white acting nominees also drew calls for a boycott, though not from such prominent individuals as Lee and Pinkett Smith. Whether it had any impact or not, the audience for the broadcast, hosted by Neil Patrick Harris, was down 16 percent from the year prior, a six-year low.

This year, academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has made a point of presenting a more inclusive show. The Feb. 28 broadcast will be hosted by Chris Rock and produced by "Django Unchained" producer Reginald Hudlin and David Hill. On Saturday, Rock, unveiling a new promotion for the broadcast, called the ceremony "The White BET Awards."

The academy didn't immediately respond to messages left Monday.

In his post, Lee made it clear the Academy Awards is only part of the problem in an industry with deep-rooted diversity issues.

"The Academy Awards is not where the 'real' battle is," wrote Lee. "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."


Follow AP Film Writer Jake Coyle on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/jakecoyleAP

Read Spike Lee's Full Statement Below.

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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Comment by fan123 on January 19, 2016 at 9:12pm
What roles should have been nominated?
Comment by GGerring on January 19, 2016 at 1:32pm
The same actors/ actresses that are boycotting the oscars dont even support award shows dedicated to themselves ie the bet awards.
Comment by ThaKid520 on January 18, 2016 at 7:29pm
Y'all upset you don't get trophies for acting? Haaaa oh noooooo.
Comment by SMP on January 18, 2016 at 6:05pm
Yeah, boycott that sh-it!
Comment by YK on January 18, 2016 at 5:37pm
The oscars been bogus.....
Comment by messiman on January 18, 2016 at 4:33pm
Lol BET awards are a joke ......African Talents Get treated like B-list n****** .... In the Athlete of the year category, World Famous African Sportsmen like Yaya toure or Didier Drogba don't get as much as a nomination.....lol so yeah the oscars are as stupid as the BET awards
Comment by messiman on January 18, 2016 at 4:26pm
Samuel L.Jackson deserved an oscar nomination for the Hateful 8..........

Jason Mitchel. (Eazy E) deserved one too for Straight outta Compton.....
Comment by senya on January 18, 2016 at 3:57pm
Yeah, and n****** can't act
Comment by WHOOOO on January 18, 2016 at 3:03pm
you don't see white people boycotting BET Awards smh
Comment by T.FORCE on January 18, 2016 at 2:38pm
Just like the BET awards do it to Africans the Oscars can also do it to "African"Americans, why?Coz they can afford to,it's all about money

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