Oscars may be so white, but boycotting them is not the answer: Poll

  • Reuters
  • Updated: Feb 27, 2016 13:53 IST
#OscarsSoWhite was once again a trending topic.

Diversity - or the lack of it - among Academy Award nominees has overshadowed this year’s Oscars, with the hashtag OscarsSoWhite trending worldwide, but 44 percent of Americans do not support the idea of boycotting the movie industry’s biggest night, according to a Reuters/Ispsos poll.

Yet that does not mean Americans are happy with the way Hollywood portrays people of colour, or that it makes enough movies that appeal to minorities, the poll showed.

Read: #OscarsSoWhite: Outrage against ‘racist nominations’

The findings come a month after a furor over the omission of any actors of colour among the 20 lead and supporting acting nominees for a second straight year, and the absence from the best picture contest of critically acclaimed hip-hop movie Straight Outta Compton.

The omissions prompted directors Spike Lee and Michael Moore, along with actors Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith, to say that they would stay at home on the night of the Feb. 28 Oscars ceremony in protest.

#OscarsSoWhite... Again. I Would Like To Thank President Cheryl Boone Isaacs And The Board Of Governors Of The Academy Of Motion Pictures Arts And Sciences For Awarding Me an Honorary Oscar This Past November. I Am Most Appreciative. However My Wife, Mrs. Tonya Lewis Lee And I Will Not Be Attending The Oscar Ceremony This Coming February. We Cannot Support It And Mean No Disrespect To My Friends, Host Chris Rock and Producer Reggie Hudlin, President Isaacs And The Academy. But, 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!! It's No Coincidence I'm Writing This As We Celebrate The 30th Anniversary Of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr's Birthday. Dr. King Said "There Comes A Time When One Must Take A Position That Is Neither Safe, Nor Politic, Nor Popular But He Must Take It Because Conscience Tells Him It's Right". For Too Many Years When The Oscars Nominations Are Revealed, My Office Phone Rings Off The Hook With The Media Asking Me My Opinion About The Lack Of African-Americans And This Year Was No Different. For Once, (Maybe) I Would Like The Media To Ask All The White Nominees And Studio Heads How They Feel About Another All White Ballot. If Someone Has Addressed This And I Missed It Then I Stand Mistaken. As I See It, The Academy Awards Is Not Where The "Real" Battle Is. It's In The Executive Office Of The Hollywood Studios And TV And Cable Networks. This Is Where The Gate Keepers Decide What Gets Made And What Gets Jettisoned To "Turnaround" Or Scrap Heap. This Is What's Important. The Gate Keepers. Those With "The Green Light" Vote. As The Great Actor Leslie Odom Jr. Sings And Dances In The Game Changing Broadway Musical HAMILTON, "I WANNA BE IN THE ROOM WHERE IT HAPPENS". People, The Truth Is We Ain't In Those Rooms And Until Minorities Are, The Oscar Nominees Will Remain Lilly White. (Cont'd)

A photo posted by Spike Lee (@officialspikelee) on

Civil rights activist the Reverend Al Sharpton and some groups have called on the public to hold demonstrations and to “tune-out” the ceremony, which is usually watched by about 40 million Americans on television.

Read: Oscars nominations 2016: Is this finally Leonardo DiCaprio’s year?

The Reuters/Ipsos poll, however, showed that just 23% of the 2,423 people polled online agreed with an Oscars boycott over the issue. The same percentage had no opinion, and 44% disagreed.

The survey was conducted about three weeks after the largely white, male-dominated Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which votes on the Oscars, announced it would double the amount of women and minorities among its ranks in the next four years.

Read: #OscarsSoWhite: Will Smith won’t be attending the Oscars in protest

However, Americans believe Hollywood has its work cut out for it in terms of the numbers of black, Latino and Asian-Americans in front of and behind the camera, as well as the movies the industry produces.

Read: #OscarsSoWhite: Academy promises historic action, Hollywood reacts

44% of those questioned said they believe Hollywood has a general problems with minorities and 30% said movies made in the film industry’s capital do not accurately reflect the racial diversity of the United States.

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