“I am disappointed by the lack of inclusion in this year's Academy Awards nominations.”
Photo via (cc) Flicker user Zavis Kuslov
Lupita Nyong’o, star of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Academy Award winner as Best Supporting Actress for 2013’s 12 Years a Slave, made an eloquent statement yesterday about the whitewashing of this year’s Academy Awards. In a post on her Instagram account she says, “I am disappointed by the lack of inclusion in this year’s Academy Awards nominations. It has me thinking about unconscious prejudice and what merits prestige in our culture.” She continued, “The awards should not dictate the terms of art in our modern society, but rather be a diverse reflection of the best of what our art has to offer today.” The actress added, “I stand with my peers who are calling for change in expanding the stories that are told and recognition of the people who tell them.”
Nyong’o joins a growing list of African-American actors and filmmakers boycotting the awards. Director Spike Lee, a two-time Academy Award nominee, recently announced that he will not be attending the ceremony, opting to go to a Knicks game instead. “February 28th, we’ll be at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, to see my beloved orange and blue hopefully beat the Miami Heat,” Lee said on Good Morning America.
Earlier this week, Jada Pinkett Smith, whose husband, Will Smith, was overlooked for his critically acclaimed performance in Concussion, announced in a Facebook video post that she’s boycotting this year’s ceremony. “Is it time that people of color recognize how much power, influence, that we have amassed, that we no longer need to ask to be invited anywhere?” Pinkett Smith said in the video. “Maybe it’s time that we recognize that if we love and respect and acknowledge ourselves in the way in which we are asking others to do, that that is the place of true power.”