When the nominations for this year’s Academy Awards were announced, one of the first voices to question their lack of diversity was actress Jada Pinkett Smith. Not only was she frustrated with the lack of representation for black actors, or any other people of color, but she has called for a boycott of the awards ceremony. Now her husband Will Smith, who many thought might receive a nomination this year himself, has spoken out in support of his wife.
While Will Smith fully supports his wife’s comments, as well as her call to action, he gives her all the credit for it. The actor tells Good Morning America that he wasn’t even in the United States when the entire thing came down.
I was out of the country at the time, and I came home and I went, 'What happened?' … She's deeply passionate and when she is moved, she has to go. And I heard her words and I was knocked over. I was happy to be married to that woman. But I appreciated the push. There's a position that we hold in this community and if we're not a part of the solution, we're a part of the problem. It was her call to action for herself, for me and for our family, to be a part of the solution.
Will Smith then went on to confirm that he also will be skipping the awards show, though, much like director Spike Lee’s recent comments, he seemed to be speaking only for himself and did not specifically ask anybody else to follow suit.
Smith complemented everybody who was nominated and did not question any of the performances that were nominated. Instead, he focused on the importance of diversity as a way for Hollywood to properly represent the country. He called diversity "the American superpower" because of the variety of people who live here. He believes that it’s important that Hollywood reflect the nation as it is and that all people see themselves reflected on screen. The Concussion actor points out that in his two previous Oscar losses, he lost out to other black actors, Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker, which he sees as evidence that the Academy’s diversity problem has been getting worse, not better.
When asked if a lack of nomination for Smith himself might be at the heart of his wife comments, Smith briefly admitted that it could have been part of it, but said that if his had been the only nomination for a black actor, then nothing about what she said would have been different. Check out the full interview below.
As one of the most prominent black actors in Hollywood, Will Smith’s voice is one that will be heard. It will be interesting to see if these comments rally even more people to the cause, and how that may impact the awards show as a whole.