The controversy surrounding the 2016 Academy Awards continues to rage on, as #OscarsSoWhite is just as trending as it was moments after this year's nominations were revealed. With all of the action the Academy is trying to put in place to make sure such a showing is less likely to happen, Russell Simmons has his own idea on how to start the healing: creating a brand new awards show.
In a statement reported by The Hollywood Reporter, Russell Simmons announced his All Def Movie Awards - an awards ceremony dedicated to highlight the diversity issues in the Academy Awards' nominations for 2016, as well as honoring the best in minority films of last year. Simmons explained the reasoning behind his awards show as follows:
[They] are not the Black Oscars, but they could be. This will be a fun, entertaining and hopefully thought provoking celebration of the uncelebrated. … I don't expect a 90-year-old Academy member to see Straight Outta Compton or vote for it. I'm more concerned that in 2016 there continues to be a stunning lack of diversity in the studios, in the green light process, in the decisions of what films and television series get made and what actors get chosen. This needs to be addressed institutionally.
The All Def Movie Awards for 2016 will see previous Oscar hopefuls like Beast Of No Nations and Straight Outta Compton competing for the honor of best film of 2016 alongside films such as Concussion, Dope, and Creed. Though don't expect the All Def Movie Awards to be a carbon copy of the Oscars, as you won't see "Best Helpful White Person" and "Best Black Survivor In A Movie" making any sort of appearance at The Academy's biggest night. Still, if anyone other than Samuel L. Jackson wins for the inaugural "Best Bad Muhfucka" award, then we may just have to question the integrity of this awards show as well.
While the decision to put on his own awards show may bring its fair share of flack, Russell Simmons doesn't seem to be trying to replace or even compete with the Oscars themselves. Rather the All Def Movie Awards seem more like Simmons' contribution to the already widely voiced opinion that the Academy Awards' uncharacteristic two years of nominations are not what the film community sees as fair. Still, it will be interesting to see just how the show performs, as well as how The Academy responds to its existence in the days to come. And with Oscar season building to a fever pitch, you can bet this won't be the last word on Simmons' would-be awards show.
The All Def Movie Awards will be held on February 24th at the TCL Chinese Theater, which is just four days before the 88th Annual Academy Awards - which take place on February 28th.