It’s not likely to put a dent in the ratings for the Oscars, but the symbolism can’t be ignored. Russell Simmons’ All Def Movie Awards has struck a deal for a highlights special to air Sunday on the Fusion cabler opposite ABC’s telecast of the 88th annual Academy Awards.
The event produced by Simmons’ All Def Digital venture was born in response to the uproar over this year’s all-white roster of Oscar acting nominees, the second consecutive year that minority actors were left on the sidelines of filmdom’s most coveted kudos. Tony Rock, brother of Oscars host Chris Rock, will emcee the All Def ceremony. Fusion, moreover, is jointly owned by ABC parent Disney and Univision, although Univision is in the process of buying out Disney’s stake in the cable channel that launched in October 2013.
The All Def ceremony will tape Wednesday night at Hollywood nightclub Lure. An hourlong highlights special will bow at 7 p.m. Sunday and repeat throughout the night. Talent committed to appearing on the telecast includes Tyrese Gibson, Nick Cannon, Terry Crews, Marlon Wayans, Vivica A. Fox, King Bach, Sannaa Lathan, Regina Hall, Robert Townsend, Bill Duke, Gary Owen and Jerrod Carmichael.
“The All Def Movie Awards are meant to fill a generational and cultural void — just as the MTV Movie Awards did,” said Sanjay Sharma, president-CEO of ADD. “Fusion is the perfect partner to celebrate the un-celebrated, and use comedy to encourage honest dialogue and action.”
The All Def kudos feature a mix of traditional categories for best picture, actor, actress and such along with such distinctive competitions as “Best Helpful White Person” and “Best Black Survivor in a Movie.” The public is invited to vote online on best picture nominees “Beasts of No Nation,” “Chi-raq,” “Concussion,” “Creed,” “Dope” and “Straight Outta Compton.”
ADD is considering the possibility of an All Def TV kudos to recognize small-screen fare.
Fusion, which is available in about 40 million homes, and ADD previously partnered last year on a multimedia project that examined the nation’s juvenile justice system.
(Pictured: Tony Rock)