×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Will Smith Says He Won’t Attend Oscars

Will Smith has joined his wife, actress Jada Pinkett Smith, in vowing not to attend the Feb. 28 Academy Awards ceremony in protest over the lack of diversity among nominees in major categories this year. Smith’s decision comes as pressure mounts on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences to address what many are calling the org’s diversity crisis.

Smith told “Good Morning America” anchor Robin Roberts on Thursday that he is “uncomfortable” with the situation. For the second year in a row, the 20 acting nominees are all white. Smith generated Oscar buzz this awards season for his work in the football drama “Concussion.”

“My wife’s not going. It would be awkward to show up with Charlize (Theron),” he said. “We’ve discussed it. We’re part of this community. But at this current time, we’re uncomfortable to stand there and say, ‘This is OK.'”

Smith has previously been nommed twice for best actor, for 2001’s “Ali” and 2006’s “The Pursuit of Happyness.” He lost both times to other black actors: Denzel Washington for “Training Day” and Forest Whitaker for “The Last King of Scotland.”

“To me, that was huge,” Smith said. “So when I see this list and series of nominations that come out – and everybody is fantastic. That’s the complexity of this issue. … But it feels like it’s going in the wrong direction.”

Popular on Variety

Smith said he has a responsibility to speak out or risk contributing to the problem.

“There’s a position that we hold in this community and if we’re not a part of the solution, we’re part of the problem,” Smith told Roberts. “And it was her call to action for herself and for me and for our family to be a part of the solution.”

“[For] my part, I think I have to protect and fight for the ideals that make our country and our Hollywood community great,” he continued. “And so when I look at the series of nominations of the Academy, it’s not reflecting that beauty.”

See More: Quincy Jones on Oscars’ Lack of Diversity: ‘It’s Ridiculous. It’s Wrong’

Although his wife’s call for a boycott was partly motivated by him getting snubbed for his role in “Concussion,” Smith insists the root of the issue is much bigger than that.

“This is so deeply not about me,” he said. “This is about children that are going to sit down and watch this show and they’re not going to see themselves represented.

“There’s a regressive slide toward separatism, towards racial and religious disharmony,” he added. “And that’s not the Hollywood that I want to leave behind.”

See More: Spike Lee on Oscars: ‘I Never Used the Word ‘Boycott”

The angry response to this year’s Oscar nominations has steamrolled in the past few days. Pinkett Smith expressed her outrage last week after the Jan. 14 nominations announcement. Director Spike Lee joined her in vowing to sit out the ceremony, although on Wednesday during a “GMA” appearance, Lee made a point of telling anchor George Stephanopoulos that he was not calling for others to boycott the ceremony.

Also on Wednesday, past AMPAS board member Quincy Jones said he would seek to address the current board next week on the issue. Jones is the first African-American to be appointed to the Academy’s board of governors and the first African-American to be awarded the Academy’s prestigious Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. He’s also a four-time Oscar nominee and he exec produced the Oscar telecast in 1996.

More Film

  • Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt in

    Joanne Froggatt Treads Singapore Red Carpet, Revisits ‘Downton Abbey’ Memories

    “Downton Abbey,” the feature adaptation of the hit British television series of the same name, had its local premiere at the 30th Singapore International Film Festival on Friday night. Representing the film on the red carpet was Golden Globe best supporting actress-prizewinner Joanne Froggatt, who played lady’s maid Anna Bates in all six seasons of [...]

  • THE IRISHMAN (2019)Ray Ramano (Bill Bufalino

    Despite Controversy, 'The Irishman' Is Netflix's Biggest Theatrical Release at Home and Abroad

    Despite friction in the U.S. over its release in select cinemas, Martin Scorsese’s “The Irishman” is enjoying the biggest theatrical rollout of any Netflix film to date, with key international markets screening the movie and bolstering its profile as awards season gets underway. The nearly three-and-a-half-hour mob epic has secured relatively large releases in major [...]

  • Stone, guitarist for Taiwanese pop band

    Mayday Guitarist, Stone Rallies Fans at Singapore Film Festival

    Stone, the Taiwanese performer who has gone from being the guitarist in Mayday to a promising acting career, drew crowds on Friday, the first full day of the Singapore International Film Festival. Speaking at Projector, the indie theater inside the historical Golden Mile building, some two hundred fans gathered to hear the artist share career [...]

  • The Tempest (concept art)

    Film Bazaar: Rinkel Film Boards Tamil Western ‘The Tempest’ (EXCLUSIVE)

    Netherlands production outfit Rinkel Film (“Rafiki”) has reteamed with India’s Stray Factory (“Nirvana Inn”) for Tamil language Western “The Tempest” (aka “Aasaimugam”). It is to be directed by emerging Indian filmmaker Arun Karthick. The two companies previously co-produced Karthick’s communal bigotry tale, “Nasir,” which benefited from a grant of €50,000 ($55,350) under the Netherlands Film [...]

  • ‘Wallace and Gromit’ Studio Aardman to

    ‘Wallace and Gromit’ Studio Aardman to Make Short Film ‘Robin Robin’ for Netflix

    “Shaun the Sheep” and “Wallace and Gromit” producer Aardman is making “Robin Robin,” a short film, for Netflix. The project marks a move away for Aardman from working with the BBC, which has broadcast the Oscar-winning stop-motion specialist’s hit projects over the years. “Robin Robin,” which will bow around Christmas 2020, is about a bird [...]

  • Graham Norton to Host 2020 BAFTA

    Graham Norton to Host 2020 BAFTA Film Awards Ceremony 

    Popular British talk show host Graham Norton has been tapped to host the 2020 BAFTA Film Awards ceremony. Norton currently fronts the ratings-winning “The Graham Norton Show“ for the BBC. In assuming hosting duties for the upcoming BAFTA ceremony on Feb. 2, he will be taking over from “Absolutely Fabulous“ star Joanna Lumley, who hosted [...]

  • “Facing It,” an eight-minute 30 second

    U.K. Short 'Facing It' Takes Top Prize at 2019 VIEW Awards

    “Facing It,” a claymation/live-action film about how relationships mold people, has won the 2019 VIEW Conference Award for best short film. The film was written and directed by Sam Gainsborough and co-written by Louisa Wood and produced at the National Film and Television School’s Beaconsfield Studio in Beaconsfield, U.K. The VIEW Awards are an offshoot [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content