On Thursday morning Will Smith (Jaden and Willow’s dad) told Good Morning America that he was joining his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, in her boycott of this year’s Academy Awards, in response to the all-white roster of nominees in the acting categories. Smith told GMA that he made the decision in order to “protect and fight for the ideals that make our country and our Hollywood community great” and speak for children and aspiring actors who wouldn’t see themselves represented at the awards ceremony.
Smith’s omission in the Best Actor category for his Oscar bait role in Concussion is obviously a catalyst here—it’s hard to imagine the couple boycotting if he was nominated, but then again this probably wouldn’t be a thing if, you know, the Academy actually nominated some nonwhite actors like Smith. But, while the boycott hasn’t quite caught on—Spike Lee also isn’t going but that’s pretty much it so far—there are signs of growing friction.
On Monday, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs tried to get in front of the issue, saying she was “heartbroken and frustrated” over the fact that the Oscars were #sowhite. But there are signs that next month’s Oscars broadcast will feature even more criticism of the Academy’s poor record on diversity than last year’s did. Quincy Jones told Billboard he plans to speak out about the issue when he presents an award. And Chris Rock is hosting, which means the monologue should be everything Ricky Gervais’s Golden Globes monologue wasn’t: socially conscious, self-aware, and funny.