Aunt Viv Weighs In On The Oscars

For the second year in a row, there has not been a single Oscar nomination for people of color in any of the four acting categories. Last year there was backlash. This year, Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith have called for a boycott. But not everyone agrees with that line of reasoning, such as Janet Hubert, best known as playing “Aunt Viv” on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air:

Hubert uploaded a grainy, four-minute video in which she addressed Pinkett Smith as “Miss Thing,” then accused her of boycotting the Oscars because Pinkett Smith’s superstar husband, Will Smith, wasn’t nominated by the academy for his role in Concussion. It went downhill from there, with Hubert adding, more or less, that the Smiths’ concern about the Oscars is frivolous in the face of greater injustices against Americans of African descent, and calling the Smiths “a part of the system that is unfair to other actors.”

Team Blackness also discussed our big plans for what to watch instead of this year’s Oscars and comments by Alveda King, MLK’s niece, on Fox News about the “war on police.”

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19 replies
  1. 1
    Mike in DC says:

    Janet Hubert has a long standing beef with Will Smith, who got her fired from the show and allegedly undermined her subsequent career.

  2. 2
    Mnemosyne says:

    The Oscar nominations are driven by the Screen Actors Guild, which is still pretty white. I took a look at this year’s SAG Awards nominees and they’re not nearly as white, so I think the fact that “Beasts of No Nation” was a Netflix-produced film and not a studio film really hurt both it and Idris Elba’s chances for a nomination even though the filmmakers jumped through the necessary hoops to keep it Oscar-eligible.

    It also doesn’t help that, frankly, it was a pretty crappy year for American films overall. TV is still kicking film’s ass in terms of the variety of stories they’re telling, and the SAG nominees reflect that.

    ETA: Also, too, the white old fart Academy voters were never going to watch “Straight Outta Compton,” much less nominate it for much of anything.

  3. 3
    Cacti says:

    I’m still trying to figure out what made The Revenant worthy of 12 nominations.

  4. 4
    Felanius Kootea says:

    @Mnemosyne: As Roy Wood Jr. pointed out on Trevor Noah, the Academy voters still managed to nominate the two white screenplay writers for Straight Out of Compton (and no one else on that film) for awards.

    OT: I’m sure someone has already posted this in another thread, but just in case, Sarah Palin blames Obama for her son’s domestic violence arrest.

  5. 5
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Felanius Kootea:

    Technically, there are four nominees for “Compton”‘s screenplay — S. Leigh Savidge and Alan Wenkus are included in the nominee list for the story. So you have one (1) black guy nominated alongside three (3) white people.

    If Stallone does win (and he’s got a decent chance since the Academy loves a comeback), I really hope he spends the entire time talking about how awesome Ryan Coogler is and how he wouldn’t be there if not for him, just so the cameras have to focus on Coogler.

    (The good news is, Coogler is still very young — “Creed” is only his second feature and he was born the year before I graduated high school — so he has a long career ahead of him.)

  6. 6
    ruemara says:

    You all need to understand something. Black people are mythological. And the talented ones you “see”, living figments of all the white people who created them from moonbeams. To be fair, my mom asked who wrote my script. So #notallwhitepeople

  7. 7
    Enhanced Voting Techinques says:

    Well at lest no one was murdered by the SAG while acting while black, so I suppose that’s progress. Then again it’s anti-gun commie California so there is something else we can blame Obama for.

  8. 8
    Felanius Kootea says:

    @Mnemosyne: Didn’t know about the four nominees for the SOC screenplay – I didn’t realize that story nominees are counted as part of the screenplay nomination. That’s what happens when you rely on a comedy show for news :-).

    Frankly I thought Ryan Coogler should have been nominated for Fruitvale and I liked that (and Michael B. Jordan’s performance in that) better than Creed.

    I’m bummed about no nom for Idris Elba for Beasts of No Nation but get that the Netflix distribution is probably what killed that nom at the Academy level as you pointed out. Still doesn’t feel good.

  9. 9
    MomSense says:


    I really want to see your film! My background is more theater than film but if you decide to do a screening, please consider me.

  10. 10
    Calouste says:

    @Cacti: It got nominated in all the Oscars-for-big-budget-movies, aka the technical Oscars.

  11. 11
    Starfish says:

    So I am listening to AngryBlackLady talk about her Twitter harassers at about the 13:00 minute mark, and I always think she has the patience of a saint when she talks to stupid people on Twitter. Even if she blocks the majority of stupid people, she still talks to some of them as if there is some chance of educating them.

  12. 12
    Felanius Kootea says:

    The African Movie Academy Awards has a best diaspora feature (mostly films by African-Americans) and it’s always weird to see how what resonates on the African continent is widely panned here. Supremacy with Danny Glover (supposedly based on a true story) won this year in South Africa but had a 13% Rotten Tomatoes rating in the US. Still, more African American filmmakers and actors are paying attention to the African film market because of Nollywood’s rise, a 1 billion person population, and the fact that Netflix has made distribution without piracy viable in the largest markets (Nigeria and South Africa). Doesn’t help the situation with the US Academy but at least people can get decent exposure and make money from previously untapped sources.

  13. 13
    Mnemosyne says:


    I think this was my rant last year, but the next big struggle for American POC’s in Hollywood is going to be getting recognized as creators, not just actors. With all due respect to Cuaron, Innaratu, and even Steve McQueen, it’s easier for foreigners of color to be nominated and win than it is for Americans.

  14. 14
    scav says:

    could be improved on meanderings


    Oligarchy of


  15. 15
    Just One More Canuck says:

    @Felanius Kootea: Party of personal responsibility?

    Snark aside, PTSD is a serious problem for returning soldiers (we have a similar problem up here in Canada, which with the new government, will be addressed). I wonder who is responsible for providing funding for the help that these soldiers need when they return from a tour of duty. Hmmm. It’s a mystery

  16. 16
    Brachiator says:


    With all due respect to Cuaron, Innaratu, and even Steve McQueen, it’s easier for foreigners of color to be nominated and win than it is for Americans.

    There are so many layers of irony here. Nonwhite British actors note that in the past few years they have found more success in American produced films than in British films in their home country.

    One of the reasons I liked the movie Belle is because it was a historical costume drama that made nonwhite characters central to the story, deftly bypassing one of the excuses sometimes offered for not casting nonwhite actors.

    And as you and others have noted, you gotta have more nonwhite creators. And more women. I thought it great that the director of cinematography for Creed is a very talented woman, Maryse Alberti, and one who probably should have got a nomination for her work.

  17. 17
    sigaba says:

    @Felanius Kootea: They also managed to nominate Sly for “Creed” but no one else.

    But I agree with Aunt Viv on one thing: when she said the conflict is frivolous, she might have a point.

  18. 18
    gwangung says:

    @sigaba: as they say….we can all multitask.

  19. 19
    Sad_Dem says:


    TV is still kicking film’s ass in terms of the variety of stories they’re telling, and the SAG nominees reflect that.

    Maybe movies can compete with the current crop of great TV serials by rebooting old-school spectacle. How about some big crowd scenes and battles? Hey, Hollywood, how about a Western with nonwhite cowboys?

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