Jada Pinkett Smith on Diverse Oscar Nominations: ‘It’s a Beautiful Thing to See’

Jada Pinkett Smith Oscars 2017 diversity
Brian To/REX/Shutterstock

Jada Pinkett Smith was one of the loudest voices in the industry last year decrying the lack of diversity in the 2016 and 2015 Academy Awards competitions. This year, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences voters set a record with nominations for six black actors, as well as gains in the best picture, feature documentary, and directing races.

Smith, an actress, director, and producer most recently seen in the Fox drama “Gotham,” who will costar in the Universal comedy “Girl’s Trip” this summer, told Variety she was gratified by the recognition for African-American artists this time around.

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“I feel really fantastic. It’s a beautiful thing to see,” Smith said. “We had a lot of exceptional films this year. I’m glad to see that projects like ‘Hidden Figures,’ ‘Fences,’ and ‘Moonlight’ are getting recognition. I’m very proud this morning.”

Smith, who is married to two-time Oscar nominee Will Smith, stressed the importance of awards recognition as a benchmark of excellence in the industry. And the annual Oscar race has implications beyond bragging rights for Hollywood insiders.

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“Because of the state that our country is in, as artists it’s so important we use our platform to help shine light on how we want to be identified as a country,” Smith said. “I look at this as a beautiful step towards that. Just our participation as artists in this time of how we want to represent our country, what is the messaging we want the world to see. As artists we have strong voices. We create strong imagery in regards to the identity of our country. It’s important that we take responsibility for that.”

Smith added that the industry still has a great deal of work to do to cement lasting change throughout all aspects of film and TV. But Tuesday’s nominations tally is a good sign that awareness and openness to new voices, such as director Barry Jenkins of “Moonlight” — after two years of virtually monochrome Oscar nominations — has greatly improved after the “Oscars So White” outcry.

“I’m very proud to be part of the artistic community today,” she said. “We have a ways to go, but we’ve also come a long way. We’ve come a long way as a country, and we’re going to keep stepping.”

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  1. Antonio says:

    It was to black this year. Why did she not be a bit more truthful and say it was to black.
    Seriously, oscars is the most ridiculous show.

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  3. john says:

    Can we now ban her from attending the Oscars? To give her any credit, if any is given, is ridiculous. These films would have been nominated even without the uproar that she stepped into high gear.

  4. TheSteelGeneral says:

    Thank you mrs. Smith! Loved you in Gotham, Hawthorne and Set it off !!!!!

  5. Le Pewn says:

    Oh no, – If she can’t complain about something, there will be no reason to write about her.
    What film(s) was she in this year? – Oh yeah, “Bad Moms” for two seconds & that’s it.
    Sit Down.

    • TheSteelGeneral says:

      so, hit TV shows don’t count? eeeeeer ….. screw you and your pretend movie elitiism. Pretend, because, had she been in films and no TV, you would’ve whined that she was irrelevant cos did not do TV ….
      She’s more successful in her field than you will ever be in yours.
      And she’s a billionaire.

  6. Haz says:

    Since when is diversity just about black or white? See now that Jada feels well represented she will keep quiet until the next time Will does some Oscar bait film and fails to receive a nomination. As a gay Hispanic male I could pitch a fit saying I do not feel represented in the four lead actor or supporting actor field, however I look past the color of skin, I judge a movie by the acting, quality, and weather I enjoy it. Last year Jada gave this controversy so much press when what it was really about is that Will did not receive a nomination. Twenty million dollars a film was not enough for them. That’s why I cannot respect this diversity conversation in Hollywood because it’s its not about that, its black and white and that’s it.

    • TheSteelGeneral says:

      If HollywoodSoWhite is not gonna give roles to blacks, they sure as hell aren’t gonna give them to Asians or Latinos. Quod Erat Demonstrandem. Blacks are trail blazers.

      The spectacle of whites bitching and moaning about EVERY DAMN LITTLE ACHIEVEMENT of blacks, never ceases to amaze and amuse me.

    • Mark Helio says:

      Agreed!!! Tired of this one sided biased crap! It’s selfish. Diversity means Latinos, Asians and native Americans. I think it’s time latinos raised their voices more as they are the majority of the minority

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