If you thought that whole “wait what happened to people of color being nominated for acting Oscars?” thing was over with Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith's calls to boycott the ceremony, think again.
David Oyelowo spoke out at the King Legacy Awards and Benefit Gala last night, where Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs was one of four people picked to receive the Legacy Award. Oyelowo presented her award, and according to The Hollywood Reporter, went off-script to offer some criticism.
“This institution doesn”t reflect its president and it doesn”t reflect this room,” said Oyelowo. “I am an Academy member and it doesn”t reflect me, and it doesn”t reflect this nation.”
Oyelowo was snubbed last year for his work in “Selma,” and all 20 acting nominees that year were white. He said Isaacs met with him to talk about “what went wrong” then, and he hoped to see some people of color represented in the acting categories this year. They weren't.
“For that to happen again this year is unforgivable,” Oyelowo said.
Oyelowo finished by saying that things needed to change, and that change had to come very soon. In the meantime, he urged the audience to support Isaacs and “make our voice heard.”
Isaacs has spoken out about her disappointment with the distinct lack of diversity in this year's Oscar nominations. Yesterday, she issued a statement saying she was “heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion” and that the Academy was “take dramatic steps” to increase the diversity of its members.
That's not to say everyone is on board with the boycott. Director John Singleton, who was the first black person nominated for a best director Oscar, told Variety he wasn't “really worried” about the lack of diversity in acting nominations for the second year in a row.
“There's only so many slots,” he said. “It's all subjective … the Academy's going to evolve. So I'm not really worried about it.”
And then there's Aunt Viv 1 from “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Janet Hubert, whose feud with her former co-star Will Smith is well-documented and apparently ongoing, released a video where she criticized Pinkett Smith for calling for a boycott after (and, Hubert believes, because) her husband wasn't nominated.
“Maybe you didn't deserve a nomination,” Hubert said. “I didn't think, frankly, you deserved a Golden Globe nomination for that accent, but you got one.”
On a more practical note, Hubert pointed out that the Smiths have a lot of money and their own production company, which means “you are a part of Hollywood. You are a part of the system that is unfair to other actors.” The people they are asking to boycott the awards, on the other hand, could seriously jeopardize their careers by taking any kind of stand against that system, Hubert said.