Tags: Hollywood | Pressure | Chris Rock | Boycott | Academy Awards

Pressure Mounts on Host Chris Rock to Boycott Academy Awards

Image: Pressure Mounts on Host Chris Rock to Boycott Academy Awards
Chris Rock speaks at the 2015 amfAR New York Gala, February 11, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 19 Jan 2016 10:04 AM

A controversy over the lack of black actors nominated for Oscars this year has image-conscious Hollywood on edge, with social media exploding on both sides of the issue — and pressure reportedly mounting for awards show host Chris Rock to drop out.

Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences president Cheryl Boone acknowledged the firestorm Monday night, tweeting out a statement that she's "heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion, and vowing to take "dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership."

"In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond," she promised.

The vow followed by an earnest video statement posted on Facebook from Jada Pinkett Smith, wife of actor Will Smith, that she'd boycott the Feb. 28 ceremony.

Will Smith got a Golden Globes nomination for his role as forensic pathologist Bennet Omalu in "Concussion," but was snubbed for an Oscar bid, as was Idris Elba, who played an African warlord in "Beasts of No Nation."

Award-winning director Spike Lee also posted his boycott plans on Instagram.

"#OscarsSoWhite ... again," he scolded. "People, the truth is we ain't in those rooms, and until minorities are, the Oscar nominees will remain lilly white."

This year's Oscar host, Chris Rock, took to Twitter to mock the nominations, calling them "the White BET Awards."

But according to the website NaughtyGossip.com, Rock is facing pressure to bow out as host of the 88th annual Oscars — with less than six weeks to go before the Feb. 28 telecast.

"Behind the scenes Chris is under extreme pressure to pull out. Many leaders in the black community think he would help progress be made if he quits his hosting job at the Oscars," an unnamed source tells the gossip website.

Wilson Morales, editor of blackfilm.com, complained the lack of black nominees last year "didn't feel so obvious" with the film "Selma" nominated for best picture, and Common, for best song, the New York Daily News reports.

"You mean to tell me they couldn't find one spot out of 10 potential Best Picture nominations for 'Straight Outta Compton'?" he complained.

But Will Smith's former co-star in the 1990s TV hit "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air," Janet Hubert slammed both the actor and his wife for their boycott campaign, releasing a video of her own on YouTube.

"First of all, Miss Thing, does your man not have a mouth of his own with which to speak?" the actress who played Aunt Viv mocked.

"The second thing, girlfriend, there's a lot of s--t going on in the world that you all don't seem to recognize. People are dying. Our boys are being shot left and right. People are starving. People are trying to pay bills. And you're talking about some [expletive] actors and Oscars. It just ain't that deep

Eonline.com notes there's "obvious bad blood between the former sitcom star and Will Smith," about once trying to convince Smith to get actors on the show a rise.

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A controversy over the lack of black actors nominated for Oscars this year has image-conscious Hollywood on edge, with social media exploding on both sides of the issue - and pressure reportedly mounting for awards show host Chris Rock to drop out.
Pressure, Chris Rock, Boycott, Academy Awards
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2016-04-19
Tuesday, 19 Jan 2016 10:04 AM
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