Oh, you think a stupid award ceremony is unfair? Boo-fucking-hoo. Every award ceremony is unfair. Every single award ceremony is a subjective process. But that’s not what Smith and Lee are crying alligator tears over. Their beef is that, according to Lee:
"We cannot support it and [I] mean no disrespect ... But, how is it possible for the second consecutive year all 20 contenders under the acting category are white? And let's not even get into the other branches…Forty white actors in two years and no flava at all. We can't act?! WTF!!"
To recap, then, Lee wants more “flava” at the awards. But what does that even mean? If we are to keep a tally and declare that at least 5 African American actors be nominated, does that make the process more fair (I doubt that fair is even what Smith and Lee are seeking, here)? Do we then make sure to have 5 Japanese Americans, 5 Native Americans, 5 Irish Americans, 5 women, 5 disabled? As you can see, they whole thing becomes absurd.
Smith and Lee do not recognize the absurdity of their stance. Per Smith:
“Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power. And we are a dignified people, and we are powerful…So let's let the Academy do them, with all grace and love. And let's do us, differently."
So, you’re not supposed to ask for acknowledgment, but isn’t that exactly what you’re doing when you make a public declaration of your boycott? You, Mrs. Smith are completely talking out of your ass. You want attention, and in begging for it in such a pathetic way (as opposed to, you know, earning it through stand-out acting), you diminish your own dignity and power.
Apparently what Smith and Lee want is for blacks to get nominations whether they earn them or not – just for the sake of “flava”. How is that any less racist? They’re essentially saying that some “lily white” people who worked their asses off to create brilliant characters are undeserving because their skin color isn’t dark enough. The hypocrisy does not end there. As reported in CNN:
“A longtime critic of the academy, Lee received an honorary Oscar at a banquet in Hollywood in November, where he said, ‘This industry is so far behind sports, it's ridiculous. It's easier to be president of the United States as a black person than be head of a (movie) studio. Honest’.”
Lee cries when he gets an Oscar and cries when he doesn’t. And I won’t even go into how asinine his comparison to sports and the office of the presidency is. Lee is just a shallow-thinking blowhard.
Thankfully, there are other voices in this discussion. Enter: Aunt Viv of Fresh Prince of Bel-Air fame. Janet Hubert completely calls the Smiths out, saying Will’s accent was “all over the place” in Concussion, and pointing out what should be obvious – that just because a performance is good, that does not mean it is “academy worthy.” Hubert makes an even better point when she says “Some actors love the work for the work itself, and not to win some bullshit statue that does not validate them as actors.” True enough, Aunt Viv, true enough.
If Smith and Lee focused on the work, and the love of the work, they wouldn’t have room in their hearts to bitch and moan about whether or not they receive some award for it. Sure, winning awards and the receipt of recognition are nice, but that can’t be the reason you do something. There are plenty of incredible actors of all skin colors that haven’t received an Oscar: Donald Sutherland and Danny Glover, to name a few. Leonardo DiCaprio and Johnny Depp have also done some incredible work and did not receive an Oscar. Did they boycott? Did they whine and cry? Negative.
I think Stacey Dash at Fox News hits the nail on the head. Quoting an interview on Fox:
“I think it’s ludicrous,” she opined. “Because we have to make up our minds. Either we want to have segregation or integration. If we don’t want segregation then we need to get rid of channels like BET and the BET Awards and the [NAACP] Image Awards, where you are only awarded if you are black.”
“So you say there should not be a BET channel?” Fox News host Steve Doocy wondered.
“No, just like there shouldn’t be a Black History Month,” Dash replied. “You know, we’re Americans. Period. That’s it.”
The most important thing Dash said is “we’re Americans. Period.” I think that’s the reason Smith and Lee piss me off so much – this country has backslid, in terms of race relations, and their bullshit boycott is only making it worse. Invoking MLK for their crap is an insult to his honor. And even the trivial aspects of our culture – the Academy Awards – are part and parcel of the total picture. Smith and Lee are, essentially, negating MLKs work and asking for new segregation – black-only awards, black-only movie production companies, etc. These neo-segregationists are completely counter to a integrated, harmonized society. We may not all like each other, or get along all the time, but I for one would rather have a colorful, Melting Pot, kind of country, not a each-to-his-own, color-divided country. I’m with Dash – we’re all Americans.