×
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

  • Days of Christmas

    Pau Freixas on Netflix Spanish Miniseries ‘Days of Christmas’

    BARCELONA – A Netflix original produced by Spain’s Filmax, “Days of Christmas” marks the new series of Pau Freixas, one of the highest-profile creators on Spain’s vibrant drama series scene. A three-part miniseries, “Days” will be made available worldwide by Netflix on Dec. 6. The story takes place over three different Christmas days, the first [...]

  • Writers-Room-Panel

    Ventana Sur: Argentine Directors on Benefit of Writers’ Room (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Ventana Sur hosted two of the country’s leading screenwriters to relay the benefits of utilizing a writers’ room while conceptualizing fiction projects, delivered to a packed auditorium on Tuesday afternoon as part of the Fiction Factory series held at the UCA Campus in Puerto Madero. Director Daniel Burman, known for films such [...]

  • Kathleen Kennedy to Receive Prestigious BAFTA

    Kathleen Kennedy to Receive Prestigious BAFTA Fellowship

    Kathleen Kennedy, president of Lucasfilm and producer of scores of movies, will receive a prestigious BAFTA fellowship, the British Academy’s highest honor, in February. Across a 40-year career, Kennedy has produced pictures that have garnered 25 Oscars and more than 100 BAFTA nominations and 27 wins. She will be honored with the fellowship at BAFTA’s [...]

  • Lee Byung-hun stars in "The Man

    Lee Byung-hun’s ‘Man Standing Next’ Secures 2020 Asia Theatrical Releases (EXCLUSIVE)

    Showbox’s political drama “The Man Standing Next” has secured releases in multiple territories in Asia. The film was picked up by Falcon for Indonesia, The Klockworx for Japan, Viva Communications for the Philippines, Shaw Renters for Singapore and by Moviecloud for Taiwan. Release dates in each territory have yet to be confirmed. Set 40 days [...]

  • Lulu Wang and Zhao Shuzhen'The Farewell'

    Zhao Shuzhen on Stealing Scenes in Her First American Movie, 'The Farewell'

    A year ago, 76-year-old actor Zhao Shuzhen shot her first American movie, “The Farewell,” based on writer-director Lulu Wang’s very personal family story. In November, Shuzhen found herself making her first visit to the States, where she earned standing ovations from audiences and posed for pictures with stars like Robert Pattinson at parties. Then she [...]

  • Jennifer Lopez and Director Lorene Scafaria

    'Hustlers' DP Todd Banhazl Discusses How Not to Shoot With the Male Gaze

    Cinematographer Todd Banhazl had to rethink conventional wisdom in shooting Jennifer Lopez starrer “Hustlers.” What sort of approach did you and director Lorene Scafaria discuss in terms of how you were going to shoot the women and create these strong images of strippers? From the beginning, we talked about this idea of control and the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content