Boycotts were announced
Once the nominees were out, the reactions came quickly. On January 18, Magic Mike XXL star Jada Pinkett Smith, who Rock roasted in his monologue, announced in a Facebook video that she would be boycotting the ceremony this year. Her husband Will Smith also said he would not be attending, while director Spike Lee supported the boycott in an Instragram post. British singer Anohni, who is nominated for her Best Original Song for "Manta Ray" from the documentary Racing Extinction, also announced that she would not be attending the ceremony.
At the same time, Selma director and Creed director Ryan Coogler announced they would be hosting a benefit in Flint, Michigan, the night of the Oscars. The event will also feature performances from Hannibal Buress, Janelle Monae and Jesse Williams.
Rock touched on these boycotts in his monologue, putting the boycotts in a larger historical contest. "Black people didn’t protest, because we had real things to protest at the time," he said about the earlier eras. "We were too busy being raped and lynched to care about who won best cinematographer. When you’re hanging from a tree, it’s really hard to care about best documentary short."
The Academy has made moves to correct the problem
In an effort to correct the problem, the Academy has attempted to make the voting body that chooses the nominees more diverse. There were emergency meetings to deal with the problem.
They soon revealed dramatic some changes, increasing the amount of young and diverse voters. "The Academy is going to lead and not wait for the industry to catch up," said Cheryl Boone Isaacs, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in a statement. "These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition."
As Rock noted in his monologue, the whole conversation is actually pretty simple in its goals. "We want opportunity," Rock concluded. "We want black actors to get the same opportunities."
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Dan Jackson is a staff writer at Thrillist Entertainment and thinks Chris Rock did a great job last time too. He's on Twitter: @danielvjackson.