Academy Awards face racist claims


February 4, 2016

The Academy Awards are renowned for the awarded “Oscars” given to the best nominee in various categories such as Best Picture, Best Actress/Actor, Best Supporting Actress/Actor, etc. This year’s 20 nominees of actors marks the second consecutive year with an all-white lineup. This has led to much outcry from the general public and movie stars that the Academy Awards are racist.

Will Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, was the first to announce her boycott of the Academy Awards, claiming that it is racist. This comes after she found out her husband was not a nominee for best actor for his role in Concussion. despite being nominated for a Golden Globe for the performance. Will Smith, Stacey Dash, Matt Damon, Nick Cannon and Ice Cube are among the other actors who have come out and stated they will not be attending the Academy Awards due to the racist claims. Chris Rock, who will host The Oscars on Sunday, Feb. 28, has stayed far away from the controversy, but he did acknowledge it by tweeting, “The #Oscars. The White BET Awards.”

Some big names in Hollywood have come to the defense of the Oscars. Gerald Molen, voting member for the Academy, stated, “There is no racism except for those who create an issue. That is the worst kind. Using such an ugly way of complaining,” to The Hollywood Reporter. On her show The View, Whoopi Goldberg stated, “I won once, so it can’t be that racist. I’ve been black the whole time,” and went on to say it’s more of a Hollywood problem than the Oscars’ problem.

In response the widespread criticism The Academy has pledged to diversify its group of voters, which is currently 97 percent white, by doubling its female and minority members by 2020. The Academy will also immediately diversify its leadership by adding three new seats to its board of governors. “The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up,” President Cheryl Boone Isaacs stated, continuing that “These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition.”

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