A growing number of stars are backing an Oscar boycott led by Jada Pinkett Smith, which has been criticized by a co-star of her Academy Award nominee husband.
Janet Hubert, who portrayed Will Smith’s original Aunt Vivian on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, has released a video berating the star and his wife for threatening to boycott this year’s ceremony after it was revealed that the list of nominees did not include any black stars for a second year in a row.
On Monday, Magic Mike XXL star Jada Pinkett Smith shared a recording on her Facebook page announcing she would not be attending the Oscars because of a lack of diversity among the nominees in all the acting categories.
Spike Lee is the latest star to back Pinkett-Smith’s boycott of the ‘lily white’ Oscars. Michael Moore is also vowing to stay away.
Other members of the film industry have since weighed in on the controversy, among them British actors Idris Elba and David Oyelowo, as well as past Academy Award winners Whoopi Goldberg and George Clooney.
But Pinkett Smith’s act of rebellion against the Hollywood establishment has failed to impress her husband’s former co-star, who did not mince words in her videotaped takedown of the power couple.
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Aunt Viv’s not impressed: Actress Janet Hubert (left) who portrayed Will Smith’s original Aunt Vivian on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air hit out at his wife, Jada Pinket Smith (seen right at the Golden Globes) over her decision to boycott the Oscars this year
‘First of all, Miss Thing,’ begins Hubert her tirade, “does your man not have a mouth of his own with which to speak?
‘The second thing, girlfriend, there’s a lot of sh** going on in the world that you all don’t seem to recognize. People are dying.
‘Our boys are being shot left and right. People are starving. People are trying to pay bills. And you’re talking about some f*****g actors and Oscars. It just ain’t that deep.
‘And here’s the other thing: For you to ask other actors, and other black actresses and actors, too, to jeopardize their career and their standing in a town that you know damn well you don’t do that. And here’s the other thing: They don’t care.
‘They don’t care! And I find it ironic that somebody who has made their living, made their living and made millions and millions of dollars from the very people you’re talking about boycotting just because you didn’t get a nomination, just because you didn’t win.
Act of rebellion: Magic Mike XXL star Pinkett Smith released a video Monday announcing she would not be attending the Academy Awards due to a lack of diversity among this year’s nominees
Likely no-show: Chi-raq director Spike Lee also said he would be skipping the ceremony
‘That is not the way life works, baby … You ain’t Barack and Michelle Obama. Ya’ll need to get over yourselves.’
Hubert, 60, is best known for playing Vivian Banks, Will Smith’s wealthy and urbane aunt from a tony Los Angeles enclave, who takes in her poor nephew from Philadelphia at the request of her sister.
Hubert was on the popular sitcom from its first season until the end of the third, at which point she was replaced by Daphne Maxwell-Reid for the remainder of the series’ six-year run – a move for which Hubert has long blamed Smith, claiming she was ejected from the show for refusing to bow to his ego.
Smith has refuted the claims, telling an Atlanta radio station after Hubert’s departure that she had a bad attitude.
‘[Hubert] said once, “I’ve been in the business for 10 years and this snotty-nosed punk comes along and gets a show.” No matter what, to her I’m just the AntiChrist,’ the actor said.
CRITICS SLAM ACADEMY AWARDS FOR LACK OF DIVERSITY
Chorus of critics: (L to R) Idris Elba , Whoopi Goldberg, David Oyelowo and Snoop Dogg have condemnded the Oscars’ lack of diversity among the nominees
‘This institution doesn’t reflect its president and it doesn’t reflect this room. I am an Academy member and it doesn’t reflect me, and it doesn’t reflect this nation,’ – David Oyelowo
‘You have to ask the question – are black people normally playing petty criminals? Are women always the love interest or talking about men? Are gay people always stereotyped? Are disabled people ever seen at all?’ – Idris Elba
‘… the idea that we could go two years in a row, where 40 actors could be nominated and none of them were black, is just crazy,’ – Michael Moore
‘I can’t help ask the question: is it time that people of color, recognize how much power and influence we have amassed that we no longer need to ask to be invited anywhere,’ – Jada Pinkett Smith
‘How is it possible for the 2nd consecutive year all 20 contenders under the actor category are white? And let’s not even get into the other branches. 40 white actors in 2 years and no flava at all. We can’t act?! WTF!!’ – Spike Lee
‘Hollywood is like the Rocky Mountains, the higher up you get the whiter it gets and this year’s Academy Awards will be yet another Rocky Mountain Oscar,’ – Rev Al Sharpton
‘Somebody asked was I gonna watch the mother****ing Oscars. F*** no! What the f*** am I gonna watch that bulls*** for? They ain’t got no n***** nominated. All these great movies and all this great s*** ya’ll keep stealing from us. F*** you! F*** you!’ – Snoop Dog to TMZ
‘Why is this a conversation that we only have once a year? Every year we get all fired up and then the rest of the year nobody says anything…. So I’m not going to boycott, but I’m going to continue to bitch as I have all year round because I’m tired of seeing movies where no one is represented except a bit of the population, not all of it,’ – Whoopi Goldberg
‘If you think back 10 years ago, the Academy was doing a better job. Think about how many more African Americans were nominated…. And all of a sudden, you feel like we’re moving in the wrong direction,’ – George Clooney
Role of a lifetinme: Hubert (left), 60, is best known for playing Vivian Banks (seen right in a promotional shot), Will Smith’s wealthy and urbane aunt from a tony Los Angeles enclave, who takes in her poor nephew from Philadelphia
Bad blood: Hubert was on the popular sitcom from its first season until the end of the third, at which point she was replaced by another actress – a move she has long blamed on Smith
New aunt: Daphne Maxwell-Reid (left) was cast as Vivian Banks in 1993 and remained on the show for the remainder of its six-year run
Simmering tensions between Hubert and Smith came to a head in 2011, amid rumors of a Fresh Prince reunion, when after seeing a picture on Facebook of her former co-stars at an event together, the snubbed actress stated: ‘There will never be a reunion … as I will never do anything with an a**hole like Will Smith.’
She told TMZ: ‘He is still an egomaniac and has not grown up. This constant reunion thing will never ever happen in my lifetime unless there is an apology, which he doesn’t know the word.’
In her Facebook rant this week, Hubert brought up their old feud, claiming Smith had refused to negotiate for salary increases alongside the entire cast of Fresh Prince.
‘Well karma must be a bitch, cause now here you are,’ says Herbert in the video.
‘Here you are, you’ve had a few flops and you know there are those out there who really deserved a nod.’
She then criticizes both his performance and accent in the film Concussion, which some pundits had thought might land him an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of a Nigerian-born doctor who takes on the National Football League over player safety.
Harsh words: In 2011, Hubert quashed rumors of a possible Fresh Prince reunion, saying: ‘There will never be a reunion … as I will never do anything with an a**hole like Will Smith’
To those who might think that she decided to target Smith because of their acrimonious relationship, Hubert says ‘it is not about being bitter – it’s about being right. The only Oscar I care about right now is Oscar Mayer Weiner with mustard and relish.
Chi-raq director Spike Lee also said he would be skipping the ceremony, where he was to be feted as the recipient of this year’s honorary Oscar.
In a lengthy Instagram post, Lee said he ‘cannot support’ the ‘lily white’ Oscars. Noting that he was writing on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Lee said he was fed up: ‘Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all,’ he wrote. ‘We can’t act?!’
On Tuesday, Fahrenheit 9/11 director Michael Moore, who is white, said that he too will be sitting out this year’s glittering Hollywood event, saying that ‘the idea that we could go two years in a row, where 40 actors could be nominated and none of them were black, is just crazy,’ reported The Wrap.
On Tuesday’s episode of The View, host Whoopi Goldberg, who won an Oscar in 1991 for Ghost, offered her take on the proposed boycott, saying she was upset that the subject of under-representation of minorities in film was being trotted out only once a year, during the awards season.
Not pulling any punches: George Clooney, pictured here with his wife, said that the film industry was moving in the wrong direction on the diversity issue
‘Every year we get all fired up and then the rest of the year nobody says anything,’ Goldberg stated, adding that while she won’t be boycotting the ceremony, she intends to continue talking about the underlying issue.
‘I’m tired of seeing movies where no one is represented except a bit of the population, not all of it,’ she said.
Speaking to Variety on Tuesday, two-time Academy Award winner George Clooney said he believed Hollywood as an industry was ‘moving in the wrong direction.’
‘If you think back 10 years ago, the Academy was doing a better job. Think about how many more African Americans were nominated…. And all of a sudden, you feel like we’re moving in the wrong direction,’ the 54-year-old actor and director said.
Clooney, who stars in the new Coen brothers comedy Hail, Caesar, said Will Smith could have received an Oscar nod for Concussion, and Idris Elba deserved a nomination for Beasts of No Nation.
Under pressure: Critics of the Academy Awards have called on Chris Rock, who will be hosting the ceremony next month, to withdraw from the event in light of the controversy
Comedian Ricky Gervais, who hosted the Golden Globes on January 10, urged Chris Rock not to bow out, but to use the live telecast as a bully pulpit
‘But honestly, there should be more opportunity than that,’ Clooney told the industry publication.’By the way, we’re talking about African Americans. For Hispanics, it’s even worse. We need to get better at this. We used to be better at it.’
The awards show slated for February 28 will be hosted by comedian Chris Rock, who joked on Twitter that the Oscars were ‘the White BET Awards’ after the nominations were announced last week.
Rock has not publicly commented on the planned boycott.
Comedian Ricky Gervais, fresh off his controversial Golden Globes hosting gig, offered Rock some advice, tweeting: ‘If I were @chrisrock, I wouldn’t be considering boycotting The Oscars. I’d be thinking “this s*** is live. I can do some serious damage.”‘
On Monday, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs weighed in on the so-called #OscarsSoWhite scandal, saying in a statement she was ‘heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion’ and promised to implement sweeping changes that would hopefully result in a more diverse group of nominees, and Academy members, in the years to come.
Many awards handicappers expected nominations for Idris Elba of Beasts of No Nation and Benicio Del Toro for Sicario. The N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton also failed to earn a best picture nod, despite some predictions it would.
Ryan Coogler’s acclaimed Rocky sequel Creed scored a nomination only for Sylvester Stallone, leaving its young African-American star Michael B. Jordan empty-handed.