As we draw closer to the 88th Academy Awards ceremony, the fruitful debate spawned by the #OscarsSoWhite controversy gracefully continues. Will Smith, who quickly threw his support behind his partner Jada Pinkett Smith's powerful call for diversity earlier this month, has remained outspoken on the industry's desperate need for change. "There is a position that we hold in this community, and if we're not part of the solution, we're part of the problem," Smith told ABC News in January, just as detractors and general trolls diminished the growing #OscarsSoWhite boycott as a response to Smith's own lack of a nomination for his role in Concussion.
"If I had been the only person of color that had been nominated, my wife would have just made two videos," Smith told BBC Radio 1's Nick Grimshaw on Wednesday, directly addressing the notion that Concussion impacted his decision. "She would not have gone with me." Adding that he considers the #OscarsSoWhite controversy indicative of a much larger problem within the industry at large, Smith insisted any such boycott was not "a civil rights issue" but instead "about diversity."
The Academy ultimately responded to the backlash with a promise to double the number of "women and diverse members of the Academy" over the next four years. "These new measures regarding governance and voting will have an immediate impact and begin the process of significantly changing our membership composition," Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said when announcing the initiative.
The Oscars, hosted by Chris Rock, are set to air on ABC on Feb. 28.