Spike Lee boycotts ‘lily white’ Oscars

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Film director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith have said they will not attend next month’s Oscars ceremony because of the mostly white nominees.

Lee said on Instagram he “cannot support” the “lily white” awards show.

This is the second year in a row there have been boycott calls, sparked by a list of nominees that is mostly white.

Among those overlooked were the NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton for best picture and Will Smith for best actor in NFL film Concussion.

His wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, said in a video message on Facebook that she would not attend.

“Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power,” she said.

“And we are a dignified people and we are powerful.”

She and Lee made their announcement on Martin Luther King Jr Day, a national holiday in the US to remember the civil rights leader.

“Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all,” said Lee. “We can’t act?!”

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Jada Pinkett Smith with husband Will Smith, who failed to get nominated

Last year, there were similar calls to boycott the ceremony but Lee and Pinkett Smith are the first high-profile figures to carry out the threat.

Neil Patrick Harris presented the show and the audience figures were down 16% to a six-year low.

This year, academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs has tried to make the show on 28 February more diverse, bringing in black comedian Chris Rock to host.

Isaacs admitted she was “disappointed” all acting nominees were again white.

The hashtag “OscarsSoWhite” was heavily used after Thursday’s announcement.

The Reverend Al Sharpton said: “Hollywood is like the Rocky Mountains, the higher up you get the whiter it gets and this year’s Academy Awards will be yet another Rocky Mountain Oscar.”

Media captionIdris Elba has described the American Dream as “the most famous diversity policy of all”

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