“[For] my part, I think I have to protect and fight for the ideals that make our country and our Hollywood community great,” Smith told Robin Roberts on “Good Morning America” Thursday. “And so when I look at the series of nominations of the Academy, it’s not reflecting that beauty.”
When asked if he would attend this year’s Oscars, Smith said, “No. My wife’s not going. It would be awkward to show up with Charlize [Theron]. 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.'”
And while Smith admitted that at least part of Jada’s motivation for calling on entertainers to avoid this year’s ceremony was due in part to him not getting a nomination for “Concussion,” he insists the issue is larger than him.
“This is so deeply not about me,” he said. “This is about children that are going to sit down and watch this show and they’re not going to see themselves represented.”
“There’s a regressive slide toward separatism, towards racial and religious disharmony,” he continued. “And that’s not the Hollywood that I want to leave behind.”
Hollywood has come under fire for the second year in a row for failing to nominate a single actor of color in any of the Academy Awards acting categories.
On Monday director Spike Lee announced that he would not attend what he called the “lily-white Oscars,” while leading entertainment figures such as Jada and “Straight Outta Compton” producer (and Oscar voter) Will Packer criticized the persistent status quo.
Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs, also an African American, issued a statement on Martin Luther King Day promising changes within the group.
“I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes,” Isaacs said.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which votes on the Oscars, has a membership that is 94 percent Caucasian and more than 70 percent male, according to a study conducted in 2012 by the Los Angeles Times.