Lee Daniels, the black Academy Award-nominated director of Precious, ripped the entertainment figures who created the “Oscars So White” movement resulting from the Motion Picture Academy’s omission of black actors for nominations in 2016.
Daniels told The New York Times, “Go out and do the work. Oscars so white! So what? . . . Do your work. Let your legacy speak and stop complaining, man. Are we really in this for the awards? . . . If I had thought that way — that the world was against me — I wouldn’t be here now. These whiny people that think we’re owed something are incomprehensible and reprehensible to me. I don’t expect acknowledgment or acceptance from white America. I’m going to be me.”
Between 1981 and 2007, The “Tree of Life Awards,” also informally known as the “Black Oscars,” were held by members of the black community who felt the Motion Piture Acadmey was snubbing black performers. After the 2016 nominees were announced, Gil Robertson, president of the African American Film Critics Assn. said they could be restarted, claiming, "It began as a way to fill a void in the city and in the community. People work hard and invest in their craft and were being ignored … so the Black Oscars became a way for them to receive acknowledgment of their talents and their craft."
Those in sync with the Oscars So White movement included entertainment figures such as George Clooney, Mark Ruffalo, David Oyelowo, Jada Pinkett Smith, Snoop Dogg, Lupita Nyong'o, Spike Lee, Whoopi Goldberg, Will Packer, and Idris Elba.
On the other hand, Schindler's List producer told The Hollywood Reporter:
There is no racism except for those who create an issue. That is the worst kind. Using such an ugly way of complaining... The idea of a boycott is ridiculous. Are their noses bent out of shape by the award nominations? Of course. That is normal in a town of egos and red-carpet desires. While there were many performances of note, not all my choices for 'best' in the various categories have been realized... I say to all my co-members: Stop acting like spoiled brats. Look to the next awards show for recognition — if you deserve it.