An Academy Awards boycott that stemmed from a lack of racial diversity among Oscar nominees has grown, with Will Smith saying Thursday that he is joining his wife in skipping this year’s ceremony.
“No, my wife is not going; it’d be awkward for me to show up with Charlize [Theron],” the actor said on ‘Good Morning America’. “So, no. We’ve discussed it and we’re a part of this community, but at this current time, we’re uncomfortable to stand there and say that this is okay.”
Actress Jada Pinkett Smith announced her boycott on Monday via a Facebook video. Filmmakers Spike Lee and Michael Moore have also said they won’t be attending the Academy Awards this year, as the #OscarsSoWhite backlash has picked up steam. Tyrese Gibson and 50 Cent both called on Chris Rock to quit his hosting duties in protest, and Mark Ruffalo, nominated for best supporting actor for his role in “Spotlight,” said he’s “weighing” whether to attend.
“That’s where I’m at right now; I woke up in the morning thinking, ‘What is the right way to do this?’ ” Ruffalo told the BBC, going on to cite the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.’s message that “the good people that don’t act are much worse than the people, the wrongdoers, who are purposefully not acting and don’t know the right way.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences faced a similar critique last year after “Selma” was snubbed; but this year, black actors and directors who worked on numerous films received considerable awards buzz, including Will Smith for his star turn in “Concussion.”
“Had I been nominated and no other people of color were, she would have made the video,” he said of his wife’s boycott. “We’d still be here, having this conversation. This is so deeply not about me. This is about children that are going to sit down and are going to watch this show, and they’re not going to see themselves represented.”