NEW YORK — The Academy Awards has enjoyed a long history of pageantry and celebrity embracing Hollywood's finest on its most decorated evening. However, at the same time, there has been much criticism regarding the way the Academy Awards has embraced people of color.
One of the greatest controversies was the Steven Spielberg classic, The Color Purple. It was nominated for 11 Academy Awards in 1986. It took home zero Oscars. Fast forward thirty years and today, Director Spike Lee, announced via Instagram this morning that he was boycotting the Oscars. While he respectfully thanked the Board of Governors for his honorary Academy Award, he also candidly asked, how is it possible that all the contenders nominated in the actor category are white?
Lee was not alone.
Actress Jada Pinkett Smith announced she will not be attending either. Coincidentally, her husband Will Smith was not nominated for his performance in the movie Concussion.
Mike Paul, who also goes by the name The Reputation Doctor, is a Manhattan based crisis management expert. Paul has also worked with a clients who have been nominated or won an Academy Award.
"The crisis issue is this, that the average person who is voting for the academy awards is a white man who is a senior citizen in his 70s, that's the crisis," said Paul.
As a stand is beginning to build over the lack of people of color being nominated in a year that produced memorable performances as well as films, Paul believes the controversy will only intensify.
"I think there is going to be more pressure. That pressure needs to happen," Paul said. "We now have pressure in numbers that can bring change. I think the Oscars will be very different very soon."
However, what will rapidly change the complexion of the boycott is if and or when an award-winning Anglo actor lends their support.
Paul says he sees those actors getting engaged the same way they have supported politicians as well as other causes in the past.
"I see more white actors and directors getting involved. I see those same actors that voted for Barack Obama for example, saying, How can I be for this man? but not for this issue," said Paul.