Will Smith, 55, has had an incredible career spanning more than three decades, stunning audiences with his engaging performances. But the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air star found himself in the spotlight in 2016 when he and his spouse, Jada Pinkett Smith, decided not to attend the prestigious Oscars.
The actor is reportedly one of the Hollywood elite that is dissatisfied with the lack of diversity in the 2016 Oscar nominees, according to THR. For the second year in a row, no non-white actor has been nominated for an Academy Award in acting. Smith and his spouse made the decision to skip the Oscars as a result, which happened a few years prior to the Chris Rock slap incident.
Will Smith was disappointment with the lack of diversity in the 2016 Oscar nominations, given that no non-white actors were nominated for any acting awards for the second year in a row. The Concussion actor told ABC News‘ Robin Roberts during their interview that he did not think that 2016’s nominees truly captured the splendor and diversity of America via Fandom Wire:
“The beauty of Hollywood combined with American ideals is the ultimate dream for humanity: the basis of the American concept of anything is possible, with hard work and dedication, no matter your race or religion, creed, none of that matters in America. I think that diversity is the American superpower. That’s why we are great..”
Many felt that Smith should have been nominated for his work as Dr. Bennet Omalu in Concussion. Although he vehemently stated that every actor nominated was “fantastic…and deserving”, he was troubled by a broader trend he perceived in the preponderance of white nominees. He made note of:
“I’ve been nominated twice for Academy awards and I’ve never lost to a white person. The first time I lost to Denzel [Washington] and the second time I lost to Forest Whitaker. When I see this list and series of nominations that come out — and everybody is fantastic and that’s the complexity of this issue, everyone is beautiful and deserving and its fantastic — but it feels like it’s going the wrong direction…”