Why I support Spike Lee’s #Oscarsmustfall campaign

Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Someone called Spike Lee is threatening to boycott this year’s Oscars for having failed to include a sufficient quota of black talent on their nominations list.

This is an excellent campaign and one I shall definitely support once I’ve managed to discover who this Lee gentleman actually is. According to some rumours, he was one of the Rhodes scholars who recently campaigned in Oxford to have an old statue removed because every time they walked past its eyes seemed to be following them in a really racist way. Others insist that, no, Spike Lee was once the recipient of an Academy Award himself. But I can find no record of this: I’ve looked up the Oscars in the likely categories – “gaffer”, “best boy”, “key grip”, “dolly”, etc – but there’s definitely no Spike Lee mentioned.

Did he perhaps once go under the pseudonym Bruce? There’s a Bruce Lee on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The problem here is that this particular Lee seems to have died some years ago, didn’t look very black, and also – it would appear –  was likeable, amazingly talented and made movies that everyone wanted to watch. So I don’t think it can be the same person.

Anyway, as a great believer in social justice I totally support this campaign by this man who may or may not be the son of Spiderman creator Stan Lee, or someone with a similar surname. But I just don’t think it goes far enough.

Lee believes that Oscars should be apportioned on a socially just basis and he’s absolutely right: look at the wonderful social justice work that was achieved by all those subprime mortgages made available to marginalised communities thanks to Barney Frank’s affordable housing laws. Imagine the transforming effect similar legislation would have on Hollywood.

For example, every week could be 12 Years A Slave week. That is, not just occasionally but throughout the entire year our cinemas could be filled with powerful, worthy movies – see also Beloved; The Color Purple; etc – designed to help white people feel more terrible about themselves. It could be the black make-work equivalent of the Hoover Dam and it might well generate large sums of box office to be handed to worthy causes like #blacklivesmatter. Even white racists would turn up in droves to see these movies – secure in the knowledge that wherever they sat in the auditorium there wouldn’t be a single black person anywhere nearby because, for some reason, black people don’t really go in for these liberal-breastbeating-auto-torture fests. Not enough car chases and gats, possibly.

Once the ethnic quota system has been introduced, we can then start broaching the more fundamental problem with the Academy Awards. They are, and always have been, quite outrageously elitist.

Every year, a self-selecting cabal (with not a single representative from marginalised countries like Burkina Faso, Albania and Yemen) votes to hand out a series of golden statuettes to recipients not on the basis of how hard they tried or how well they coped with their upbringing or how much they care about the world’s oppressed but about how good they are at acting/writing/directing/etc.

This discrimination is outrageous. It invariably rules out

Ugly people

People who can’t write, act or direct

People who can’t speak English

People who don’t work in the movie industry

People with no talent


Spike Lee

It’s time this injustice was corrected once and for all and I think I know just the man to do it when he achieves office in 2020. President Kanye West.



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