Left-wing documentary filmmaker Michael Moore plans to join a growing boycott of next month’s 88th Academy Awards, following the Academy’s announcement that no minority actors have been nominated for major awards.
Moore, who won an Oscar in 2003 for his documentary Bowling for Columbine, told industry outlet TheWrap he supports actress Jada Pinkett Smith and fellow director Spike Lee in their respective pledges to not watch the Feb. 28 telecast.
For the second consecutive year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) announced that all 20 Oscar nominations in the four main acting categories had gone exclusively to white actors.
“I absolutely support what they are doing, and I will be happy to join them,” he said in a phone interview with the outlet on Monday. “I thought about this all day, and I don’t plan to go to the show, I don’t plan to watch it and I don’t plan to go to an Oscar party.”
On his own boycott, Moore added: “And I say that as a proud member of the Academy, as someone who still sits on the executive board [of the Documentary Branch], as someone who knows full well that [president] Cheryl [Boone Isaacs] and [CEO] Dawn [Hudson] are doing their best to fix the situation.”
Isaacs spoke out about the controversy on Monday night, and said that she was “heartbroken and frustrated,” by the lack of racial diversity, and promised “dramatic steps to alter the makeup of our membership.”
“I believe Cheryl when she says she is heartbroken,” Moore told TheWrap. “I know from being in meetings with her and Dawn that they were insistent in having a diverse Academy long before this year.” He continued:
They are not looking for tokenism or symbolism – they want this thing fixed, and I believe they will accomplish that. This is not a PR move on the part of the Academy.
But the idea that we could go two years in a row, where 40 actors could be nominated and none of them were black, is just crazy. So if it will help to lend my name to what Spike and Jada are doing, I’m hoping to be a symbolic participant in this [boycott].
The Sicko director also stated he feels this year’s all-white list of nominees are a problem that stems from a lack of racial diversity in Los Angeles.
“A fish rots from the head down,” Moore said. “The problem has to get fixed in the studio system, which has been a white-dominated, male-dominated industry forever.”
“When you’re working in New York, you have a day-to-day existence with African Americans in the industry here,” Moore elaborated. “But I can fly to LA for two or three days of meetings and never encounter an African American person in any position of power. I can very easily leave LAX, go to a West Hollywood hotel, have a meeting in Burbank, another meeting in Century City and another in Santa Monica, go back to LAX and never encounter an African American who isn’t in a service position.”
He added, “I love LA but the problem has to get fixed there.”
Moore joins actor David Oyelowo, actress Jada Pinkett Smith, directors Spike Lee and John Singleton, rapper Snoop Dogg, and TV personality Rev. Al Sharpton in speaking out against this year’s race controversy.