“Well you know, I feel like we’re making strides,” Jada Pinkett Smith said of representation in the 2019 Academy Awards nominations.
“I’m about walking the walk,” the producer explained at the Variety Sundance studio presented by AT&T. “And that’s one of the reasons why part of my work has been helping artists like Minhal [Baig] and flowing resources to artists like herself,” she said of the “Hala” writer-director, known for employing a nearly all woman-lead crew, who was one of many people of color shut out of Oscars nominations this year.
“It takes people like myself in the industry to do that. I feel like there’s most awareness and I do feel like there’s more movement in that direction,” Pinkett Smith said.
Following Spike Lee’s boycott of the ceremony in 2016, Pinkett joined in the #OscarsSoWhite debate, tweeting about the lack Oscar nominations for black actors.
“It was all love. Sometimes family, we have to push each other,” she said of her relationship with the Academy, which she said has been very receptive. “That’s just what it takes. And sometimes that push is not pretty, but we heard each other and things are happening and we made adjustments very quickly, and I’m very grateful for that,” she said of Academy leader Cheryl Boone Isaac addressing the issues raised. “And as you see, it’s changed a lot. My part as an artist is making sure that I continue to do my part in regards to helping to facilitate inclusivity and diversity in regards to stories that are told in our industry.”
Lee, who had never been nominated for Best Director, received his first-ever Oscar nod for “Blackkklansman.”