Oscars boycott Will Chris Rock Jump Ship On The Academy Awards?

There is only six weeks to go until the Academy Awards are presented in a live telecast, but many people are wondering if Chris Rock is going to keep his gig as host. Since the nominations were announced there has been mounting criticism about the lack of diversity. This is the second year in the row that no African Americans were nominated for any significant awards.

As a result, Jada Pinkett Smith and Spike Lee announced on Martin Luther King Jr. day that they will boycott the awards this year. Their announcement has spurred others to think about boycotting the ceremony as well which ironically is scheduled to take place on Feb. 28th which is historically black history month.

All of the talk of boycotting might be making the Academy a bit nervous wondering if their host will bail as well, but those close to Rock believe that he will take the stage as planned. In fact, they argue that this is an ideal time for Rock to be in the center of the stage because he can write jokes that also bring awareness to the issue.

Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, released a statement on Tuesday, January 19,

“I’d like to acknowledge the wonderful work of this year’s nominees,” Isaacs shared in her statement to Us Weekly. “While we celebrate their extraordinary achievements, I am both heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion. This is a difficult but important conversation, and it’s time for big changes. The Academy is taking dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership. In the coming days and weeks we will conduct a review of our membership recruitment in order to bring about much-needed diversity in our 2016 class and beyond.”
Rock can tell jokes in a fashion that no one else can, and that may just be the wakeup Hollywood needs.

Boone Isaacs said she would "conduct a review of our membership recruitment"

Boone Isaacs said she would “conduct a review of our membership recruitment”

The profile of Oscar voters

In 2012, the LA Times conducted a study to find out how diverse the Academy membership is.

Reporters spoke to thousands of Academy members and their representatives to confirm the identities of more than 5,100 voters – more than 89% of the voting members.

They found that:

  • Oscar voters are nearly 94% Caucasian and 77% male. Black members make up about 2% of the Academy, and Latino members less than 2%.
  • Oscar voters have a median age of 62. People younger than 50 constitute just 14% of the membership.
  • Some of the Academy’s 15 branches are almost exclusively white and male. Caucasians currently make up 90% or more of every Academy branch except actors, whose membership is 88% white.
  • Men make up more than 90% of five branches, including cinematography and visual effects.

Black lead acting winners

  • 2006 – Forest Whitaker
  • 2004 – Jamie Foxx
  • 2001 – Denzel Washington
  • 2001 – Halle Berry, the only female best actress in leading role
  • 1963 – Sidney Poitier