Spike Lee Applauds Oscars Officials for Taking Decisive Action
Director Spike Lee has applauded officials at the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) for taking decisive action to implement change following the diversity controversy which has overshadowed this year’s Oscars.
The Chi-Raq filmmaker, who received an honorary Oscar in November, became the first big name to pull out of plans to attend the Academy Awards next month after expressing his disappointment that no African-Americans had been nominated for the top acting or directing categories for the second consecutive year.
Taking to Instagram on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, he wrote, “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… But, how is it possible for the 2nd consecutive year all 20 contenders under the actor category are white?… We Can’t Act?! WTF!!”
Jada Pinkett Smith echoed Lee’s sentiments in her own social media video, while singer and actor Tyrese Gibson called on ceremony host Chris Rock to quit the gig and urged other Hollywood stars to show their support for the cause by boycotting the high-profile event too to demand change.
The uproar, which has gained popularity on social media with the use of the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite, prompted AMPAS President Cheryl Boone Isaacs to vow to take action, and on Thursday, decision-makers at the Board of Governors unanimously approved sweeping changes to amplify minority representation at their awards show and double the amount of Academy members who are women or people of color by the year 2020.
“They had to do something, it was a fire storm of protest,” Lee told IMDB of the historic move. “And I want to thank President Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the Board of Governors, for doing the right thing.”
However, that doesn’t mean Lee will be changing his mind about attending the February 28 prizegiving after deciding instead to cheer on his beloved New York Knicks basketball team as the team takes on the Miami Heat at home in the Big Apple.
“I’m not showing up,” the 58-year-old continued. “My wife and I, we made the decision, we’re not going to change our decision… We took a moral stance, and we’re not gong to do a punk move and go back on our word.”
“At the same time, we’re commending the Academy for putting measures that will hopefully turn this thing around,” Lee added.
And the director insists Hollywood’s race row is part of a much bigger issue in society: “The United States Census Bureau reported by 2043 white Americans will be a minority in this country. So I would just appeal to peoples bottom line. Forget about if it’s the right thing to do. If you don’t address the diversity in this country, you’re going to go out of business.”