The Rev. Al Sharpton offered wholesale denunciations of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which votes on the Academy Awards, for the lack of diversity among this year’s Oscar nominees. Subsequently, the Los Angeles chapter of his National Action Network is calling for a boycott of the upcoming awards show.
“Hollywood is like the Rocky Mountains, the higher up you get the whiter it gets,” Sharpton said in a statement “and this year’s Academy Awards will be yet another Rocky Mountain Oscars. Yet again, deserving black actors and directors were ignored by the academy — which reinforces the fact that there are few if any blacks with real power in Hollywood. Being left out of awards consideration is about more than just recognition for a job well done; winning an Oscar has long-lasting cultural and economic impacts.”
For the second consecutive year, all 20 acting nominees white. Last year, Sharpton called for a boycott of the Oscars proceedings, but was then discouraged at the last minute by Ava DuVernay, the director of the critically-acclaimed film Selma, which was up for several nominations (the movie won nothing in the acting or movie categories).
In the directing category for the 2016 Academy Awards, there is only one person of color (Alejandro G. Iñárritu) and no women. And for best picture, no films with predominantly black casts (such as Creed or Straight Outta Compton) are in the running.
Sharpton, through the NAN’s Los Angeles office, is urging a nationwide “TV tune-out” of the Oscars show, which is to air Feb. 28.
“The lack of African Americans and women excluded from the major categories of Oscar nominees is appalling,” said Najee Ali, NAN L.A.’s political director, in a statement.
Sharpton’s statement added that NAN is convening a Hollywood summit next month “to bring light to those studios and others in the film industry who aren’t living up to their obligations. We will not sit idly by and allow our community to be disregarded.”
The Academy, whose first African American president, Cheryl Boone Isaacs, articulated her “disappointment” that there was no diversity in the nominees, did not immediately respond to request for comment.