“How is it possible for the 2nd consecutive year all 20 contenders under the actor category are white?” the honorary Academy Award recipient writes
“My wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee and I will not be attending the Oscar ceremony this coming February,” Lee wrote on Instagram on Monday morning. “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?” he continued. “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!!”
Lee went on to say that he receives calls from media outlets every year now asking for his reaction to the fact that no black actors have been nominated for the Oscars and that this year was no different. But Lee said he would rather that journalists ask the white nominees and studio heads their feelings on the matter.
“As I see it, The Academy Awards is not where the ‘real’ battle is,” he said. “It’s in the executive office of the Hollywood studios and TV and cable networks… The truth is we ain’t in those rooms and until minorities are, the Oscar nominees will remain lilly [sic] white.”
This year, the Academy failed to nominate any acting nominees of color for the second year in a row despite having 20 chances to do so.
Idris Elba (“Beasts of No Nation”), Will Smith (“Concussion”), Michael B. Jordan (“Creed”), Samuel L. Jackson (“The Hateful Eight”) and Jason Mitchell (“Straight Outta Compton”) were among the talented black performers to be snubbed. Puerto Rican actor Benicio Del Toro was also overlooked for his supporting performance in critically acclaimed crime drama “Sicario.”
The renewed #OscarsSoWhite controversy comes in spite of the fact that the Academy has taken steps to diversify its ranks by inviting new members such as David Oyelowo, Gugu Mbatha-Raw and “Straight Outta Compton” director F. Gary Gray, who was also snubbed. The directing nominees, however, did include Mexican filmmaker Alejandro G. Inarritu for “The Revenant.”