Will Smith is standing in solidarity with his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, come Oscar night. On Thursday the actor spoke to Robin Roberts on Good Morning America about the Oscars’ lack of diversity and his lack of attendance.
Roberts jumped right into the diversity conversation and asked Smith about his feelings about the Oscars.
“I think that diversity is the American superpower. That’s why we’re great. So many different people. From different places. Adding their ideals to this American gumbo,” Smith stated. “For my part, I think I have to protect and fight for the ideals that make our country and Hollywood community great. So when I look at the nominations, it’s not reflecting that beauty.”
Smith also noted the two times he was nominated for the awards, and those he lost to.
“I’ve been nominated twice for Academy Awards. I’ve never lost to a white person. For me that was huge. When I see this list. Everybody is fantastic […] but it feels like it’s going in the wrong direction. The nominations reflect the academy,” Smith continued. “There’s a regressive slide towards separatism, towards racial and religious disharmony. That’s not the Hollywood I want to leave behind.”
When asked by Roberts if he was aware that his wife was going to post about the Oscars, he said he wasn’t aware but would have liked a heads-up.
“She’s deeply passionate. And when she is moved, she has to go. I heard her words and I was knocked over. I was happy to be married to that woman. There’s a position we hold in this community. If we’re not part of the solution, we’re part of the problem,” Smith stated.
Roberts also asked if he knew that people were saying the only reason Jada was upset was that he hadn’t been nominated. And he admitted that could be part of her reasoning, too.
“There’s probably a part of that in there. For Jada, had I been nominated and no other people of color were, she still would have made the video anyways. This is so deeply not about me. This is about children who are going to sit down and they’re going to watch this show. And they’re not going to see themselves represented,” Smith stated.
When asked if he was attending the Oscars, he made it clear that he wasn’t.
“No,” he said. “My wife’s not going. It would be awkward to show up with Charlize [Theron] … we’ve discussed it. … We’re part of this community. But at this current time, we’re uncomfortable to stand there and say this is OK.”