Controversy erupted late last week when the Academy Awards nominations were revealed to have not a single minority included in the acting categories — and for the second year in a row, no less.
An Oscars boycott has now been started by director Spike Lee and actress Jada Pinkett Smith, and many are wondering what scheduled host Chris Rock will do.
Gathered below are 11 things to know about the controversy, as well as the ongoing fallout.
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1. The problem
— "For the second year in a row, every acting nominee at the Academy Awards is white," Entertainment Weekly reported last week
. "Oscar contenders such as Idris Elba ('Beasts of No Nation'), Michael B. Jordan ('Creed'), Oscar Isaac ('Ex Machina'), Benicio Del Toro ('Sicario'), Tessa Thompson ('Creed'), Jason Mitchell ('Straight Outta Compton'), and Will Smith ('Concussion') all missed out on nominations Thursday morning. 'Straight Outta Compton' and 'Creed' were also left off the list of Best Picture nominees."
2. The lone minority
— "Only the director of 'The Revenant,' Alejandro [González] Iñárritu from Mexico, broke into the all-white crowd," CBS News reported
. The director won Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Picture for "Birdman" in 2015.
3. The Twitter response: #OscarsSoWhite
— The hashtag took off last year in response to not a single minority being nominated for an acting award, and this year it came back in full force. Last year, the public backlash prompted host Neil Patrick Harris to open with a race joke: "Welcome to the 87th Oscars. Tonight, we honor Hollywood's best and whitest — sorry, brightest."
4. Jada Pinkett Smith is boycotting
— "Chris [Rock], I will not be at the Academy Awards and I won’t be watching but I can’t think of a better man to do the job at hand this year then you, my friend. Good luck," Pinkett Smith said in a video posted to her Facebook page
on Monday. She said the Academy has the right to nominate and invite whomever it wishes, but that she could not participate in good conscience.
5. Spike Lee is boycotting
— "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," the famed director wrote on Facebook
on Monday, Martin Luther King Jr. Day. "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, 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?"
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6. Academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs is "disappointed"
— "Of course I am disappointed, but this is not to take away the greatness [of the films nominated]. This has been a great year in film, it really has across the board. You are never going to know what is going to appear on the sheet of paper until you see it," she told Deadline Hollywood
. Speaking of efforts to make the Academy more diverse, she said, "We have got to speed it up."
7. Michael Moore will join boycott
— "I absolutely support what they are doing, and I will be happy to join them," the "Bowling for Columbine" and "Fahrenheit 9/11" director told The Wrap
. "I thought about this all day, and I don’t plan to go to the show, I don’t plan to watch it and I don’t plan to go to an Oscar party. And I say that as a proud member of the Academy, as someone who still sits on the executive board [of the Documentary Branch], as someone who knows full well that [AMPAS president] Cheryl [Boone Isaacs] and [CEO] Dawn [Hudson] are doing their best to fix the situation."
8. John Singleton is not offended
— The first African-American nominated for the Best Director Academy Award for his 1991 film "Boyz n the Hood" told Variety
he is not upset about the lack of black actors nominated over the last two years. "There’s only so many slots, though," Singleton said. "There are a couple of movies that may have (warranted attention) but . . . It’s all subjective. It’s almost like the lottery." Singleton is directing an episode of FX’s upcoming "People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story."
9. "Fresh Prince" actress thinks boycotting is a bad idea
— "There's a lot of sh** going on in the world that you all don't seem to recognize," Janet Hubert, who played Aunt Vivian on the sitcom, said in a video response to Pinkett Smith, E! Online reported
. "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."
10. Chris Rock is likely to remain as host, reports say
— The New York Post's Page Six reported
that Rock has acknowledged the controversy, tweeting "The #Oscars. The White BET Awards." While many have asked him to join the boycott, he is likely to remain in the host slot, according to some reports.
11. Ricky Gervais said Rock could do "serious damage" as host
— "If I were @chrisrock, I wouldn't be considering boycotting The Oscars. I'd be thinking 'this sh** is live. I can do some serious damage,'" the comedian wrote on Twitter
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