The controversy of the absence of nominations for black actors at this year’s Academy Award nominations continues to heat up. Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee are boycotting the Oscars because no black actor has been nominated for two consecutive years, and they’re encouraging others to boycott as well. Rev. Al Sharpton and other activists are also asking that Chris Rock pull out as host of the Academy Awards, with Najee Ali of the L.A. chapter of the National Action Network noting, according to L.A. Weekly, that “it sends the message African-Americans are good enough to be presenters and entertain us but not worthy enough to be nominated for awards.” That group is even asking Sylvester Stallone, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie to boycott. Meanwhile, David Oyelowo, snubbed for an Oscar for his depiction of Martin Luther King, Jr. in Selma, is also speaking out against the Academy’s race problem.
One person who doesn’t seem that concerned with the fact that only white actors were nominated this year is GOP presidential frontrunner Donald Trump. The candidate, who was endorsed by Sarah Palin in an unhinged speech yesterday, appeared on Fox News and spoke about the outrage over the Oscars.
Trump first noted that Sharpton, one of the leaders of the Oscar boycott movement, is “just a guy who wants to get publicity for himself,” before adding that “Al would probably say that he was a friend of Donald Trump.”
Trump then offered up an argument familiar to the #AllLivesMatter opposition movement against #BlackLivesMatter, suggesting that maybe it isn’t fair for black actors not to be nominated at the Oscars, but that it also isn’t fair for whites to be excluded from the BET Awards.
BET Awards, by the way, are specifically awarded to black entertainers.
From Think Progress:
Trump called it a “tough situation.” Then he pointed out that he’d seen an earlier interview in which someone said, “What do we do with BET, Black Entertainment? Right? So, there the whites don’t get any nominations.” Trump said he thought that was an “amazing interview actually” and that he’d “never even thought of it from that standpoint.”
He continued, noting that he’s watched the Oscars “over the years where African Americans have in fact received Academy Awards and have in fact been represented.” However, “this is not one of those years, but over the years I’ve seen numerous black actors and African American actors receive awards and I think that’s great.”
For the record, 14 black actors and actresses have won Oscars in the acting categories in the 88-year history of the Academy Awards, which might explain why the BET Awards are necessary… but not to Trump.
It’s also worth noting that two years ago Donald Trump criticized Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained as “one of the most racist movies I’ve ever seen” and blasted the Academy for awarding Daniel Day Lewis the Oscar for his role in Lincoln, saying that a Brit shouldn’t have been nominated for playing an American president.