Spike Lee On Oscars: “I Have Never Used The Word 'Boycott'”

“Here’s the thing, I have never used the word boycott,” director Spike Lee told Good Morning America’s George Stephanopoulos this morning, in reference to this year’s Academy Awards.

“All I said was my beautiful wife Tanya…we’re not coming. That’s it, and I gave the reasons,” the two-time nominee and Honorary Oscar recipient said this morning.

“February 28th, we’ll be at the world’s most famous arena, Madison Square Garden,” Lee added. “I’m going to a Knicks game.” Asked to give guidance to others in deciding whether to attend the awards ceremony, Lee shot back, “Do you. I’m not going. My wife’s not going. Everyone else can do what they want to do.”

No African-Americans were among the Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress or Supporting actors’  categories in last week’s Oscar nominations. The absence of Straight Outta Compton for Best Picture, Creed director Ryan Coogler and star Michael B. Jordan, The Hateful Eight‘s Samuel L. Jackson, Concussion‘s Will Smith, and Beasts Of No Nation‘s Idris Elba sparked dismay and anger. The Oscars have drawn fire over the past two years over the absence of  minorities in glam categories, and this year’s lack of diversity among nominees brought back the social media hashtag #OscarsSoWhite.

Last November, in accepting an Honorary Oscar, Lee noted, “It’s easier to be president of the United States as a black person than be head of a [movie] studio.” This morning, he sat down on GMA and Stephanopoulos jumped right in with, “So you’re not going to the Oscars?”

After telling Stephanopoulos he was instead going to Madison Square Garden, he elaborated, “I sold my [Knicks] tickets, but after I put my essay out my wife and I decided we’re not going [to the Oscars] so I bought my tickets back.”

This year’s host, Chris Rock, is in a difficult position, Stephanopoulos said, taking another approach. “Chris Rock’s  a grown…man,” Lee said. “He’s going to do what he wants to do. And I support, either way.”

Asked what he’d do if he had agreed to host the ceremony, Lee shot back, “There’s no ‘ifs’!”

So, you’re going to be neutral,” Stephanopoulos laughed, throwing in the towel.

“I’m going to be at Madison Square Garden,” Lee joked.

GMA network ABC, which broadcasts the Oscars, is getting a lot of mileage out of the outrage since the nominations announcement. One day earlier, four time Oscar host Whoopi Goldberg, now Den Mom on the network’s The View, complained on-air, “Why is this a conversation we only have once a year?”

    1. No, the honorary Oscar recipients are invited each year. They usually put them up in a balcony and and then play some clips from the November ceremony.

  1. When Sike Lee said where are the black studio heads. Well there are none. The studios and networks and agencies have few black agents or executives. Most of these limosine liberals cry the loudest about all the injustices except in there own backyard. More Hollywood hypocrites.

    1. agreed – it’s ironic that Hollywood, the stronghold of liberals for years, is being called out for under-representing minorities, liberals, etc. You would think movies were made by Republicans, not libs.

  2. Like Spike says – look to the gate keepers. Look at the creators, writers and directors of the Nominated best films. Look at all their resent films and make a head count of the minorities in those films.

    The amount of black actors, let alone Native American, in those moves are close to the same percentiles as those missing from the Oscars. Blame the Oscars all you want but we also have to look to ourselves and to the international market place. Look at Empire and see just how well that’s selling abroad. It’s not the hit it is here in the US. Take a real hard look to our international buying community and you’ll find the same depressing results – if not worse. What they buy has as much to with what we in the US make.

    When JJ Abrams casts a black actor in Star Wars there was an uproar from fans all over the world. Why?

    Also – we simply don’t watch movies the way we used to. The mechanics of how people vote for the Oscars hasn’t kept up with the times. Beast of No Nation wasn’t seen by the voters as much as the Revenant. I wonder how many screeners never even got to their water marked owners. Many voters here in LA complain they don’t get their FREE SCREENER ,while complaining that people who don’t have the money to go to the movies see their films for free on the internet. Times have changed. It’s up to us a creative community to keep challenging what’s acceptable. Because the current state of affairs in the Hollywood Studio System is not acceptable. At all.

    1. I got my free screener.

      It was overrated, and so was his performance.

      I guess I’m a racist, right?

  3. So basically he’s saying that 27 years ago his Oscar nominated film Do the Right Thing losing to Driving Miss “F’ing” Daisy, is the reason he hates the Academy. How disrespectful for a filmmaker to stomp on a film and then declare his film to hold up better over time. This is a man with an axe to grind. And even though he was given an honorary award this year, he still spits at the Academy.

  4. In the first hour of GMA, Spike discussed what’s wrong with the industry. In the second hour, he promoted his new documentary. #Hypocrite. I agree that there’s a real issue with the Oscars. But the solution doesn’t lie with Spike and JPS trying to get their names in the news (“I’m relevant! Really! I am! And I know there’s something really wrong going on here because otherwise my Hollywood husband would have been nominated!”). The real issue is the Academy, which needs to induct voting members with a pulse and who aren’t on life support.

  5. How is Spike Lee even relevant? Why is anyone giving him air time? Of all the black filmmakers working today, he probably has the lowest box office, that’s if his movies even get released.

  6. Spike says he’s not “boycotting” the Oscars, merely “not going.” He stated this while sipping coffee from a hollow, round, ceramic device designed to contain a hot beverage. “It’s NOT a cup!”

    1. Boycotts are organized. If you just decide not to do something, you’re just not doing it. If you try to get others not to do it either, that’s a boycott. And Lee seems to be deliberately avoiding going there.

  7. Lots of people don’t go to the Oscars, and we don’t know or care why…nobody says anything. Spike’s gotta grow up. I think it’s sour grapes because (I hear that) Shi-Raq isn’t doing very well…if it’s still in theaters.

  8. More black voting members only means one thing — more black members. If ANYONE is insinuating that more black members would result in more black nominations in the ‘glam’ categories, then they are saying tht BLACKS would vote on color lines.

    Perhaps the BET Awards, NAACP Awards, Soul Train Awards, etc., should become ‘diversified’. It’s apparent that back have become a bit too entitled. Not everyone gets to win…..

  9. Same backbone of jello as the Smiths. Cry outrage, then suck back up to the Academy the next day. Pathetic.

  10. Will Smith should go to the Oscars like all the other stars that weren’t nominated & stop making excuses
    you to Spike. It’s about ACTING
    that’s all

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