Spike Lee, Jada Pinkett Smith announce they’re boycotting Academy Awards

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Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith injected some new drama into next month’s Academy Awards, announcing that they both would be boycotting the ceremony over the lack of diversity among the nominees.

The “Chi-Raq” director took the occasion of Martin Luther King’s birthday to slam the movie industry and reveal that he and his wife, Tonya, would not be attending Academy awards on the most important night in the industry.More after the cut…

“We Cannot Support It And Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy,” the Brooklyn-based director wrote on his Instagram page Monday, name-checking a pair of black industry insiders involved in the telecast.”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!!”

Smith also revealed in a Facebook video that she would not be at the Dolby Theatre for the show and would not be watching at home, either.

“Begging for acknowledgement or even asking diminishes dignity and diminishes power and we are a dignified people and we are powerful, let’s not forget it,” she said to her Facebook followers. “So let’s let the Academy do them with all grace and love and let’s do us differently.” 

Her husband, Will Smith, had been expected by some prognosticators to be a best actor contender for his turn in “Concussion,” but had been shutout in last Thursday’s nominations.

Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences president Cherryl Boone Isaacs, herself African American and a huge proponent of increasing diversity in the movie business, admitted to Deadline.com last week that she was “disappointed.”

Lee, whose films have traditionally been ignored by the Academy voters during the awards themselves, had brought up the disparity during his acceptance speech when he was handed an honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards last November.