Why some celebrities may be boycotting the Oscars this year

As we discussed just a few days ago, this year’s Oscars nominations are woefully lacking in diversity, with the only person of color up for one of the so-called “Big 5” awards being Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu who directed the Leonardo DiCaprio vehicle, The Revenant.

Every year, celebrities go along with it, accepting that this is just the way things shook out, but that may no longer be the case. Yesterday morning, actress Jada Pinkett Smith began floating the novel idea of an Oscars boycott. In a series of tweets, Pinkett Smith, whose husband Will Smith should have been nominated for his role in Concussion, aired her frustrations with this year’s nominations.

Meanwhile Oscars host Chris Rock—an outspoken advocate of racial equality—has already started criticizing the awards show in a way that only he could, calling them the “White BET Awards.”

As Variety points out, it’s not as if there weren’t opportunities to nominate people of color: “150-plus films [were] directed by women, 45 directed by blacks, 50 by Hispanics, and dozens of movies by directors who are Asian-American, LGBT individuals, people with disabilities and members of other minorities.” So, a choice was made—just in the wrong direction.

Perhaps, it’s time to admit that we can no longer count on an Academy that is 94 percent white (as of 2012) to make diversity a priority. In fact, the complete absence of people of color from the Oscars might send a much stronger message.

(Image by Alberto Rodriguez/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)

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