Al Sharpton Blasts ‘Fraudulent’ Progressive Hollywood over All-White Oscar Nominees

Al Sharpton
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The Rev. Al Sharpton ripped Hollywood after the Academy Award nominations were announced Thursday morning, with black actors completely shut out of each of the four top acting categories for a second straight year.

In a statement, Sharpton blasted the film industry for what he called its “fraudulent image of progressive and liberal politics and policies,” and said the nominations were a reflection of “the fact that there are few if any blacks with real power in Hollywood.”

“Hollywood is like the Rocky Mountains, the higher up you get the whiter it gets and this year’s Academy Awards will be yet another Rocky Mountain Oscars,” Sharpton said in a statement obtained by the Hollywood Reporter. “Yet again, deserving Black actors and directors were ignored by the Academy — which reinforces the fact that there are few if any Blacks with real power in Hollywood.”

“Being left out of Awards consideration is about more than just recognition for a job well done; winning an Oscar has long-lasting cultural and economic impacts,” he added.

The Academy quickly came under fire for a second straight year after Oscar nominations were announced Thursday morning, with each of the 20 actors and actresses nominated in the top categories being exclusively white. Last year, the #OscarsSoWhite hashtag began trending on Twitter shortly after the nominations were announced, with some critics arguing that Selma director Ava DuVernay and actor David Oyelowo were snubbed in their respective categories.

This year, critics of the Academy contended that actor Michael B. Jordan and director Ryan Coogler (Creed), actor Will Smith (Concussion), director F. Gary Gray (Straight Outta Compton), actor Idris Elba (Beasts of No Nation), and actor Samuel L. Jackson (The Hateful Eight) deserved recognition for their work.

Sharpton had loudly criticized the Academy last year, when the #OscarsSoWhite controversy first surfaced. The Los Angeles chapter of the Sharpton-led National Action Network had threatened to protest outside the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood during the ceremony, but a protest never materialized.

In the wake of last year’s controversy, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs attempted to diversify the organization’s membership by inviting more than 300 new members, the largest class of new members in the history of the Academy.

In November, Boone Isaacs announced a new Academy diversity initiative called “A2020,” a five-year program that would see the organization “hire, mentor, encourage and promote talent in all areas” of the film industry.


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