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The Actor has joined his wife Jada Pinkett, Spike Lee, Lupita Nyong’o, David Oyelowo, and George Clooney, among many others in calling out the Academy Awards for its all-white slate of acting nominees. In the interview he said:
“My wife’s not going. It would be awkward for me to show up with Charlize Theron. No, we’ve discussed it and we’re a part of this community, but at this current time, we’re uncomfortable to stand there and say this is okay”
“I think diversity is the American superpower. That’s why we’re great. So many different people from so many different places adding their ideas, their inspiration and influences to this beautiful American gumbo, For me, at it’s best, Hollywood represents and then creates the imagery for that beauty. But for my part, I think I have to protect and fight for the ideals that make our country and Hollywood community great. So when I look at the series of nominations from the Academy, it’s not reflecting that beauty.”
Smith said that while Hollywood has historically been a progressive community, it needed to “get out front” of the diversity issues facing the industry.
“There’s a disharmony that’s brewing in our country and in our industry – I want no parts of that,” he said. “This is a marriage. I look at it as this sort of big, giant, multi-interracial marriage. Sometimes dysfunctional. But the marriage is in a space where divorce is not an option. We’re all in this together. We have to figure it out. We have to make it right.”
“The nominations reflect the Academy, the Academy reflects the industry; reflects Hollywood. The industry reflects America. It reflects a series of challenges we’re having in our country at the moment. . That’s not the industry, that’s not the America I want to leave behind. There was a regressive slide towards separatism, towards racial and religious disharmony, and that’s not the Hollywood that I want to leave behind”
Will Smith has been nominated for two Oscars in the past, and both times he lost to other black actors: Denzel Washington for Training Day and Forest Whitaker for The Last King of Scotland.