Meet April Reign, the woman behind #OscarsSoWhite
All 20 actors nominated for this year's Oscars are white. Now, Spike Lee has joined actor Jada Pinkett Smith's boycott of Hollywood's big night. And Tuesday, director Michael Moore also announced he'll be staying home.
They -- and many others -- are protesting against the snub of movies made by non-white or non-straight actors, directors and writers.
Activist and writer April Reign started the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite last year in response to a similarly homogenous list of nominees. When she saw this year's all-white acting list, she was disappointed, to say the least.
"It's important that we get to the work of making systemic changes," Reign tells As It Happens host Carol Off.
She points out that the Academy members are 94 percent white, more than 75 percent male and their average age is 63. She says those old, white guys that run Hollywood's studios need to start recognizing diverse actors and directors.
"For example, the movie Straight Outta Compton, which grossed over $200 million, was a musical biopic of NWA, a rap group out of Los Angeles. It was nominated for best original screenplay, but both of the screenwriters are white."
She also points out that the film Tangerine about trans women was overlooked, but Eddie Redmayne, a straight, white actor, was nominated for Best Actor playing a trans woman in The Danish Girl.
"This is definitely not just a black issue. This is an issue that represents all people of colour and marginalized communities," Reign says.
Some are hoping that Chris Rock, who is hosting this year's awards, will join the boycott. But Reign isn't among them.
"I think Chris Rock should do what's best for Chris Rock," she says. "He's a brilliant comedian and he's known for his biting political and social commentary . . . so I would expect more of the same during the Oscars telecast."
She will not watch the show in protest and instead will produce some yet-to-be-announced counter-programming.