Oscars 2016 Host Chris Rock Calls Event "White BET Awards," Jada Pinkett Smith Comments on Lack of Diversity

Many people have commented about it on social media since the 2016 nominations were announced

By Corinne Heller Jan 16, 2016 6:55 PMTags
Chris Rock, OscarsThe Academy

According to the 2016 Oscars host Chris Rock, he's actually going to be hosting a different award ceremony.

Not that that's stopping him from performing his duties. The 50-year-old actor and comedian posted on his Twitter page on Friday a promo video touting three seasons to watch the annual, prestigious ceremony, the top event honoring the best in film, a day after the nominations were announced.

He captioned the video, "The #Oscars. The White BET Awards."

All the nominated actors, such as Matt Damon, Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale, Sylvester Stallone, Rachel McAdams and Kate Winslet, are white.

While nominations also went to the likes of Mexican director and three-time Oscar winner Alejandro González Iñárritu and the rap biopic Straight Outta Compton, Rock, who is hosting the Oscars for the first time since 2005, has joined a growing number of people who have taken to social media to comment, directly or in jest, about the lack of diversity among this year's nominees.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the group behind the Oscars, has not commented on the criticism.

Jason Merritt/Getty Images

Actress Jada Pinkett Smith, who did not appear in any nominated films, posted a three-part comment on Twitter.

"At the Oscars...people of color are always welcomed to give out awards...even entertain," she wrote. "But we are rarely recognized for our artistic accomplishments. Should people of color refrain from participating all together? People can only treat us in the way in which we allow. With much respect in the midst of deep disappointment."

Rev. Al Sharpton also released a statement via the National Action Network.

"Hollywood is like the Rocky Mountains, the higher up you get the whiter it gets and this year's Academy Awards will be yet another Rocky Mountain Oscars," he said. "Yet again, deserving Black actors and directors were ignored by the Academy—which reinforces the fact that there are few if any Blacks with real power in Hollywood."