Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith, David Oyelowo Slam Oscars

  /  01.19.2016

The Academy Awards is promising a change, all while the damage continues to snowball over its lack of diversity in the recently announced Oscar nominations.

Last week, the nominations were announced for the 88th annual award ceremony, sparking the #OscarsSoWhite trending topic on social media after it was revealed that most of its 20 acting nominees were white.

This lack of diversity sparked outrage among Hollywood celebrities like Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith, who both announced over the weekend that they will not be taking part in the Feb. 28th ceremony. Lee made the news on Monday (January 18) via Instagram, writing:

Jada Pinkett Smith, meanwhile, injected similar sentiments in a Facebook video, which finds the actress announcing that she will not attend the show nor will she be watching at home.

“Begging for acknowledgement or even asking [to be nominated] diminishes dignity,” Smith said in the video. “It diminishes power and we are a dignified people and we are powerful. And let’s not forget it. So let’s let the Academy do them with all grace and love and let’s do us differently.”

Actor David Oyelowo, who famous played Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in “Selma,” also voiced displeasure on the matter during a gala honoring Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs. “A year ago, I did a film called “Selma,” and after the Academy Awards, Cheryl invited me to her office to talk about what went wrong then,” Oyelowo said. “We had a deep and meaningful [conversation]. For 20 opportunities to celebrate actors of color, actresses of color, to be missed last year is one thing; for that to happen again this year is unforgivable.”

This is the second year in a row that critics have blasted the award show over its lack in diversity for its award nominations.

In the wake of these remarks, the Academy president later issued a statement on the outrage. “I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees,” wrote Cheryl Boone Isaacs, who is African-American.

“While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes.”

“The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership,” Boone Isaacs continued in the written statement. “In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.”

The 88th annual Oscars is set to air live on February 28.

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