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Will Smith joins wife in Oscars boycott

Will Smith has joined his wife Jada Pinkett Smith in boycotting the 2016 Academy Awards because he would feel "uncomfortable" at the ceremony due to the lack of diversity.

The 47-year-old actor was hotly tipped to receive a nod for a best actor Academy Award thanks to his role as Dr. Bennet Omalu in drama movie Concussion, but when the nominations were announced last Thursday (14Jan16) many were left shocked that no black stars featured in any of the lead categories.


Will's wife Jada announced she would not attend or watch the show on 28 February (16) in protest, and Will, who was out of the country when she made her video declaration, will also boycott the ceremony because he believes the nominations reflect a greater problem in the country.


He tells TV show Good Morning America, "I think that I have to protect and fight for the ideals that make our country and make our Hollywood community great. So when I look at the series of nominations from the Academy, it's not reflecting that beauty... Everybody is fantastic, and that's the complexity of this issue. Everyone is beautiful and deserving and is fantastic, but it feels like it's going (in) the wrong direction... the industry reflects America, reflects a series of challenges we're having in our country at the moment. There's a regressive slide toward separatism, towards racial and religious disharmony and that's not the Hollywood I want to leave behind."


He insisted Jada spoke out "to be a part of the solution" on the diversity issue, not simply because he did not score a nomination.


"For Jada, had I been nominated and no other people of colour were, she would have made the video anyway... we'd still be here having this conversation," he says. "This is so deeply not about me. This is about children that are going to sit down and they're going to watch this show and they're not going to see themselves represented.


"We've discussed it and we're a part of this community, but at this current time, we're uncomfortable to stand there (at the Oscars) and say that this is OK."


Cheryl Boone Isaacs, the boss of the organisation behind the Oscars, has vowed to review membership of the Academy to improve voter diversity.