You won’t be seeing Will Smith at this year’s Academy Awards. The Concussion star revealed on Good Morning America, Thursday, that he will be skipping the 2016 Oscars along with his wife Jada Pinkett Smith. He said, "At this current time we're uncomfortable to stand there and say that this is okay.”
The Smiths’ decision not to attend Hollywood’s biggest night follows the firestorm surrounding the lack of diversity at this year’s awards show. Not a single actor of color was nominated for an award, prompting Will’s wife to sound off on social media and post a powerful video message.
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In her Facebook video Jada said, “Begging for acknowledgment or even asking diminishes dignity and diminishes power.” She continued, “I will not be at the Academy Awards and I won’t be watching.”
In regards to his wife’s video, Will admitted, "I appreciated the push. There's a position that we hold in this community and if we're not part of the solution, we're part of the problem."
The 47-year-old, who noted, “[I’ve been] nominated twice for Academy Awards and I’ve never lost to a white person,” was snubbed at this year’s Oscars despite receiving a Golden Globe nomination for his performance in Concussion.
In his GMA interview, the actor insisted that his wife would have made her video even if he "had been nominated and no other people of color [were]." The dad-of-three stressed, "This is so deeply not about me, but rather,'"This is about children that are gonna sit down and they’re gonna watch this show and they're not going to see themselves represented."
Will said, “I think that I have to protect and fight for the ideals that make our country and make our Hollywood community great and when I look at the series of nominations – it’s not reflecting that beauty.”
Photo: Getty Images
That’s not to say that Will does not respect this year’s nominees. He explained, “Everybody is fantastic and that’s the complexity of this issue. Everyone is beautiful and deserving and is fantastic, but it feels like it’s going the wrong direction.”
He added, “When I look at it, the nominations reflect the academy. The academy reflects the industry, reflects Hollywood and the industry reflects America. It reflects a series of challenges that we are having in our country at the moment. There's a regressive slide toward separatism, towards racial and religious disharmony. That’s not the Hollywood that I want to leave behind.”
Oscar winner George Clooney has also spoken out on this year’s Academy Awards' controversy saying, “we're moving in the wrong direction.” 2014's best actress winner, Lupita Nyong'o admitted in an Instagram post that she is "disappointed by the lack of inclusion in this year's Academy Awards." Standing with her peers calling for a change, she continued, "The Awards should not dictate the terms of art in our modern society, but rather be a diverse reflection of the best of what our art has to offer today."
Addressing the United Kingdom's Parliament, Beasts of No Nation's Idris Elba said, "Diversity in the modern world is more than just skin color -- it’s gender, age, disability, sexual orientation, social background, and most important of all, as far as I’m concerned -- diversity of thought. Because if you have genuine diversity of thought among people making TV and film, then you won’t accidentally shut out any of the groups I just mentioned."
In a BBC interview, actor Mark Ruffalo said, "It isn’t just the Academy Awards. The entire American system is rife with white privilege racism. It goes into our justice system.” The Spotlight star also revealed that he is considering boycotting the awards show along with Will and Jada.
However, one person who does not sympathize with the Smiths’ boycott against the Oscars is Will’s former onscreen aunt, Janet Hubert, who played Aunt Viv on the Fresh Prince of Bel Air . In a YouTube video, the 60-year-old actress addressed Will’s wife saying, “Girlfriend, there's a lot of sh-- going on in the world that you all don't seem to recognize. People are dying. Our boys are being shot left and right. People are hungry. People are starving. People are trying to pay bills. And you're talking about some motherf---ing actors and Oscars. It just ain't that deep.”
Janet continued, “I find it ironic that somebody who has made their living, made their living and made millions and millions of dollars from the very people that you're talking about boycotting just because you didn't get a nomination, just because you didn't win? That is not the way that life works baby!”