Spike Lee was on Good Morning America this morning to further discuss the lack of diversity among the 2016 Oscar nominees. He insisted that he didn’t say he was going to boycott the ceremony, although he won’t be there.
“Feb. 28th, we’ll be at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden, to see my beloved orange and blue hopefully beat the Miami Heat,” the Chi-raq director told George Stephanopoulos. “I’m going to the game.”
Although many thought Lee was calling for a boycott in his Instagram post earlier this week, Lee said he never used that word.
“We're not coming,” he said. “I’m not going. My wife’s not going. Everyone else can do what they want to do.”
Lee and other African American stars have been calling out the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for failing to nominate a single minority actor for the second consecutive year. Academy President Cheryl Boone-Isaacs said Monday that she herself was “heartbroken and frustrated” by the lack of diversity. She vowed to make changes to the Academy’s membership to include more minorities.
This morning, Lee said that the entire Academy Awards diversity issue is a “misdirection play” to keep us away from the real issue in Hollywood.
"It goes further than the Academy Awards. It has to go back to the gatekeepers. The people who have the green-light vote,” Lee said. “We’re not in the room. The executives, when they have these green-light meetings quarterly where they look at the scripts, they look who’s in it and they decide what we’re making and what we’re not making.”
Lee suggested that the Hollywood studios should have something similar to the NFL’s Rooney Rule, which states that teams must interview minority candidates when searching for a head coach.
Lastly, Lee noted that this isn’t just a new issue. He specifically pointed out that his own breakthrough film, 1989’s Do The Right Thing, lost to Driving Miss Daisy. In fact, Do The Right Thing wasn’t even nominated for Best Picture.
“That film's being taught in colleges, schools,” Lee said of his film. “No one is watching Driving Miss Daisy now. So it also shows you that the work is what’s important because that’s what’s going to stand for years, not an award.”