Days before the 88th Academy Awards, Russell Simmons’ multi-platform digital entertainment outfit All Def Digital is injecting some much needed levity into the conversation about Hollywood’s diversity problem with the All Def Movie Awards, a live event hosted by Tony Rock, (yes, Oscar-host Chris Rock’s brother) happening February 24 at the TLC Chinese Theater. The event will throw some shade the Oscars’ way, while also recognizing some of 2015’s best films. They’re “not the Black Oscars, but they could be,” said Simmons about the event.
Awards will be recognized by members of the All Def Academy, which named Beasts Of No Nation, Creed, Straight Outta Compton, Chi-Raq, Concussion, and Dope as nominees for Best Picture. All six films were largely ignored by the 2016 Academy Awards, though infamously, Creed did see Sylvester Stallone nominated for Best Supporting Actor, and the (white) screenwriters of Straight Outta Compton were nominated in their category.
While the All Def Awards will also recognize Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, the point is to laugh as much as it is to shine a light on diversity. The event is being programmed as part of the live weekly comedy showcase All Def Comedy Live, and so it is that additional categories up for awards include “Most Quoted”, “Best Bad Muh F**ka”, “Best Helpful White Person”, and “Best Black Survivor in a Movie”. “We’ll honor the entire movie making process,” said Tony Rock. “Great acting, mediocre acting as well as horrible acting. Soundtracks. Wardrobes. Maybe even craft services (the best part of the set). This is the award show Hollywood has been waiting for.”
“I don’t expect a 90 year-old Academy member to see Straight Outta Compton or vote for it,” said Simmons. “I’m more concerned that in 2016 there continues to be a stunning lack of diversity in the studios, in the green light process, in the decisions of what films and television series get made, and what actors get chosen. This needs to be addressed institutionally. The All Def Movie Awards are not the Black Oscars, but they could be. This will be a fun, entertaining and hopefully thought provoking celebration of the uncelebrated.”
The event will also feature a Black Carpet for celebrity presenters, arrivals, and VIP guests instead of a red carpet, along with a special live musical performance. Before, during, and after the show, video content will be streamed on all of All Def Digital’s social channels, including Facebook, YouTube, Snapchat and Periscope.
Admission is by invitation only, but a select number of seats will be reserved for fans by lottery. Members of the public can vote for two categories in the All Def Movie Awards (Best Picture and Most Quoted Movie) online.