“Concussion” star Will Smith, who has been a key player in the Academy Awards controversy over diversity, appears to be pleased with progress made in the past week.
Smith commented today on diversity measures announced recently by the Motion Picture Academy, telling the BBC: “I was very pleased at how quickly and aggressively the Academy responded.”
Complaints surfaced after the nominations were announced earlier this month, with all 20 acting nods going to white actors for the second consecutive year. Smith is a two-time Oscar nominee for lead actor — for “Ali” (2001) and “The Pursuit of Happyness” (2006) — but was passed over when this year’s nominations were announced.
EW.com notes: “Smith was one of a number of high-profile celebrities to speak out against the Oscars after this year’s nominations were revealed, joining his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, in saying he would not attend the awards ceremony.”
Smith told the BBC today: “I want to be very clear about the spirit of what I’m saying. … This has nothing to do with me. This has nothing to do with awards. That’s a really frivolous reason for me to put my hand up and make a statement. For me this is much more about the idea of diversity and inclusion.”
Smith added: “It’s not us and them, it’s we. I’m a member of the Academy. So it’s much more a domestic family issue than it is a civil rights issue. It’s a problem we all have to solve.”