When the Oscar nominations were announced last week, they were more controversial than ever, since, for the second year in a row, no African-American actor or actress was nominated, and the hit Straight Outta Compton didn't receive a Best Picture nomination. This lead to stars such as Will Smith, Jada Pinkett Smith and filmmaker Spike Lee to boycott the awards ceremony, with Oscar nominee Mark Ruffalo revealing this week that he's mulling the possibility of shunning the ceremony as well. Today we have more reactions on the controversy from Straight Outta Compton producer Ice Cube and actors such as Danny DeVito, Don Cheadle and Sam Neill.
Ice Cube, who started his entertainment career as a founding member of the pioneering rap group N.W.A., served as a producer on Straight Outta Compton, where he is portrayed by his son, O'Shea Jackson Jr.. The biopic was widely beloved by critics and fans alike, earning just over $200 million worldwide, most of that coming from the domestic market with $161.1 million. When the nominations were announced, Straight Outta Compton was only nominated for Best Original Screenplay, but Ice Cube revealed on the U.K. talk show The Graham Norton Show, that he wasn't upset about the movie being snubbed, and he doesn't plan on boycotting since he never went to the awards show anyway.
"I never used to go anyway. You can't boycott something you never went to, so that's kind of weird. I look at it like a horse race. Once your horse loses the race, you tear up the ticket, go home. Back on out. It's nothing really to put that much energy into like that. We don't do movies for the industry, we do movies for the fans, for the people. And you now, the industry, if they give you a trophy or not, or they pat you on the back or not, it's nice but it's not something you should dwell on. We got accolades from all levels, from our core fans, for our curious fans, and from people who didn't even think they wanted to see that movie. I think an older generation got an understanding of why we do that kind of music, and the younger generation got a history lesson, and we got so much praise for the movie, it's like how could you be mad because one other academy or guild or anybody didn't say it's the number one? It's crying about not having enough icing on your cake. It's just ridiculous."
The Associated Press also caught up with a number of actors during the Sundance Film Festival, including Danny DeVito, who didn't pull any punches during his interview. The actor revealed that the lack of diversity among the Oscar nominees reflects the racist culture we're living in. Here's what the actor had to say below.
"It's unfortunate that the entire country is a racist country. This is one example that, even though some people have given really great performances in movies, they weren't even thought about. We're living in a country that discriminates, and has certain racist tendencies. Sometimes it manifests in things like, but generally speaking, we're a bunch of racists."
Yesterday, the Academy announced widespread changes in its voting policies and recruiting efforts with hopes of doubling their amount of diverse members by the year 2020. Of course, these changes won't affect any of the voting procedures for this year's awards ceremony, which will be hosted by Chris Rock, but many think this is a step in the right direction. Don Cheadle applauded the Academy's efforts, but added that these changes don't exactly get to the root cause of the issue at hand.
"I applaud their attempts to do something about it, which is great, but again, this is dealing with the symptom, not starting with the root cause of something like this, which has to do with inclusion and access and the ability for people of color, women, minorities to get entry-level positions where you can become someone who can greenlight a movie."
The AP also spoke with Sam Neill, who thought that Beasts of No Nation's Idris Elba and The Hateful Eight's Samuel L. Jackson should have been a "shoo-in for nominations." What do you think about all of this Oscar controversy over the lack of diversity among the nominees? Chime in with your thoughts, and check out the video interview segments below.