×

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.”

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

  • Editorial use onlyMandatory Credit: Photo by

    Steven Spielberg Remembers 'Friend and Early Mentor' Stanley Donen

    As news of the death of prolific director Stanley Donen spread Saturday, the industry was quick to remember the helmer of so many classic musicals. Donen directed such hits as “Singin’ in the Rain,” co-directed with and starring Gene Kelly; “Funny Face” with Audrey Hepburn; and “Charade,” with Hepburn and Cary Grant. “Stanley Donen was [...]

  • Aubrey Plaza Spirit Awards

    How to Watch the 2019 Spirit Awards Online

    The Spirit Awards are taking over television Saturday from Santa Monica, Calif., but viewers don’t need a TV to tune in. Hosted by “Parks and Recreation” star Aubrey Plaza, this year’s Spirit Awards are set to air on IFC at 2 p.m. PT and again on Feb. 24 at 9 p.m. ET. However, indie lovers [...]

  • Mandatory Credit: Photo by Richard Shotwell/Invision/AP/REX/Shutterstock

    Oscars, After Repeated Tumbles, Take Center Stage in Hollywood

    At least the weather will be sunny for Sunday afternoon’s Oscars ceremony following one of the stormiest —  and strangest — awards seasons in memory. Expectations have been turned upside down in key categories amid a historic lack of consensus among guild and critics groups. The 91st Academy Awards will be the first in three [...]

  • Hiccup (Jay Baruchel) and his Night

    Box Office: 'How to Train Your Dragon 3' Speeding to Series-Best Debut With $58 Million

    Universal’s “How to Train Your Dragon: The Hidden World” is far and away the box office champ for Academy Awards weekend with an estimated debut of $58 million from 4,259 North American locations. Three holdovers and an expansion will make up the other top four spots, with the sophomore frame of sci-fier “Alita: Battle Angel” [...]

  • Stanley Donen

    Stanley Donen, Director of Iconic Movie Musicals, Dies at 94

    Stanley Donen, the director of such stylish and exuberant films as “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Funny Face” and “Two for the Road” and the last surviving helmer of note from Hollywood’s golden age, has died at 94. The Chicago Tribune’s Michael Phillips tweeted that one of his sons had confirmed the news to him. Confirmed [...]

  • '2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live

    Film Review: ‘2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live Action’

    The Academy skewed dark in its choice of live-action shorts this year, selecting four films to slit your wrists by — each one featuring child endangerment in a different form — and a fifth, about a diabetic on her death bed, that finds a glimmer of uplift at the other end of life. If that [...]

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in an Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content