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The lack of diversity in the Academy Award nominations has set off a wave of different responses across Hollywood. Some have made the decision not to attend the awards show due to the lack of nominations for black actors. Now, at least one of the white actors who did receive a nomination is considering staying home as a show of support.
Mark Ruffalo, nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Spotlight, made it clear in a recent interview that the issues that he believes the Academy has with diversity are actually part of a much larger problem within American culture. Still, he told the BBC that he may not attend the awards show because he feels showing support for the issue is important.
I’m weighing it, that’s where I’m at right now. I woke up in the morning thinking, 'What is the right way to do this?' Because if you look at Martin Luther King's legacy, what he was saying was that the good people who don’t act are much worse than the wrongdoers who are purposefully not acting and don’t know the right way.
All twenty of the nominees for acting awards across the four main Oscar categories for performance are white. This is the second year in a row where that has been the case. This has led to some very vocal criticism from different corners of Hollywood. Jada Pinkett Smith has called for people of color to boycott the awards. Spike Lee, who received an honorary Oscar from the Academy in November, and was most certainly going to recognize him during the ceremony, has made it clear he will not be attending, though he has stopped short of asking others to follow suit.
Mark Ruffalo obviously feels very strongly about this issue. It seems clear that he feels a need to do something to show support for this issue that he agrees with. Whether or not that will take the form of not attending the awards, he has not yet decided. Ruffalo qualifies as a voting member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, as he’s been nominated for the award in the past. His response is a very different one from other members of the Academy who recently came forward to dispute any accusations of racism made against them. Many have stated that they did, in fact, attempt to nominate black actors, and that the competitive nature of the nominations is what kept these nominees out.
With just over a month to go before the awards ceremony, there will obviously be much more going on with this topic. It seems clear that a number of people will not be attending the awards. If many of the nominees themselves make that decision, it could make for a very interesting telecast.