#OscarsSoWhite: what the stars are saying

From Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee to Ricky Gervais, Snoop Dogg and George Clooney, celebrities have a lot to say about the lack of diversity in this year's Oscars nominations

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Last year #OscarsSoWhite spread all over Twitter, this year it broke the internet. The Academy Awards nominees were announced last week and not a single non-white actor was shortlisted in any of the four major acting categories. 

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Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee were among those leading the backlash, calling for a boycott of the ceremony, and since then numerous stars have had their say.

Jada’s husband Will Smith has since added his name to the list of actors boycotting the ceremony. “My wife’s not going. It would be awkward to show up with Charlize (Theron),” he explained. “We’ve discussed it. We’re part of this community. But at this current time, we’re uncomfortable to stand there and say this is OK.”

Ricky Gervais 

Piers Morgan 

 Spike Lee was one of the first to call out the Oscars this year in a long Instagram post: 

#OscarsSoWhite… Again. I Would Like To Thank President Cheryl Boone Isaacs And The Board Of Governors Of The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences For Awarding Me an Honorary Oscar This Past November. I Am Most Appreciative. However My Wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee And I Will Not Be Attending The Oscar Ceremony This Coming February. 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 2nd Consecutive Year All 20 Contenders Under The Actor Category Are White? And Let's Not Even Get Into The Other Branches. 40 White Actors In 2 Years And No Flava At All. We Can't Act?! WTF!! It's No Coincidence I'm Writing This As We Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday. 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". For Too Many Years When The Oscars Nominations Are Revealed, My Office Phone Rings Off The Hook With The Media Asking Me My Opinion About The Lack Of African-Americans And This Year Was No Different. For Once, (Maybe) I Would Like The Media To Ask All The White Nominees And Studio Heads How They Feel About Another All White Ballot. If Someone Has Addressed This And I Missed It Then I Stand Mistaken. 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. This Is What's Important. The Gate Keepers. Those With "The Green Light" Vote. As The Great Actor Leslie Odom Jr. Sings And Dances In The Game Changing Broadway Musical HAMILTON, "I WANNA BE IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS". People, The Truth Is We Ain't In Those Rooms And Until Minorities Are, The Oscar Nominees Will Remain Lilly White. (Cont'd)

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“People, the truth is we ain’t in those rooms, and until minorities are, the Oscar nominees will remain lily white.” 

Filmmaker Michael Moore joined the boycott immediately, saying: “I stand with Jada and Spike.”

George Clooney in an interview with Variety said that African Americans “have a real fair point that the industry isn’t representing them well enough. If you think back 10 years ago, the Academy was doing a better job. Think about how many more African Americans were nominated.”

David Oyelowo, who played Martin Luther King Jr in Selma, explained that “This institution doesn’t reflect [The Academy’s] president and it doesn’t reflect this room. I am an Academy member and it doesn’t reflect me, and it doesn’t reflect this nation.”

John Stamos (Two and a Half Men) said, “Hollywood, this isn’t just about diversity, it’s about talent and you missed out on giving a thumbs up to both today.”

Chris Rock, host of the upcoming Oscars ceremony, wrote:   

Alec Baldwin vehemently stated that, “After the Oscars they should have the ‘We F***ed Up’ Awards. And they should give @BeastsOfNation the recognition it deserves.”

At the Sundance Film Festival this weekend, Danny Devito bluntly explained that “We are living in a country that discriminates and has certain racial tendencies which – racist tendencies – so sometimes it’s manifested in things like this and it’s illuminated, but just generally speaking we’re a racist – we’re a bunch of racists.” 

Don Cheadle (Avengers) stated that “This is dealing with the symptom and not starting a the root cause of how do we even get to results like this.” 

And then there is Snoop Dogg, taking a different angle, but opinionated nonetheless. 

Stars are not the only ones to voice their opinions, of course, Twitter users from all walks of life have also had their say.

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