Though he received an honorary Oscar at last year’s Governor’s Awards, Spike Lee has posted on Instagram on today that he and his wife would not be attending this year’s Oscar ceremony.
The reason for his absence is due to one of the most complained about elements of the nominations last week – namely the lack of diversity in the nominees. In a statement on his account, Lee says:
“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 second consecutive year, all twenty contenders under the actor category are white? Let’s not even get into the other branches. Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all. We can’t act?! WTF!!
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.
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. People, the truth is we ain’t in those rooms and until minorities are, the Oscar nominees will remain lilly white.”
Lee’s latest film “Chi-Raq” has not figured in the awards season conversation despite strong critical notices. Lee’s comments follow on from those of actress Jada Pinkett Smith who sent the tweet on Saturday: “At the Oscars…people of color are always welcomed to give out awards…even entertain. But we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments. Should people of color refrain from participating all together?”