Music mogul Russell Simmons has set up a new comedic awards show to address the lack of diversity at the Oscars.
The Def Jam label founder has created the inaugural All Def Movie Awards, which will be held as part of the All Def Comedy Live showcase to honour films and actors who are largely unrecognised by the prestigious Academy Awards.
Simmons’ announcement comes after weeks of debate about the lack of diversity in the movie industry following the exclusion of black or minority stars in the major acting Oscar categories for the second consecutive year, which has led to Academy bosses changing their membership policy.
He says, “I don’t expect a 90-year-old Academy member to see Straight Outta Compton or vote for it… I’m more concerned that in 2016 there continues to be a stunning lack of diversity in the studios, in the green light process, in the decisions of what films and television series get made, and what actors get chosen. This needs to be addressed institutionally. The All Def Movie Awards are not the Black Oscars, but they could be. This will be a fun, entertaining and hopefully thought provoking celebration of the uncelebrated.”
The awards show will feature traditional categories including Best Picture, Best Actor, and Best Actress, but also new parody awards such as Best Helpful White Person and Best Black Survivor in a Movie.
Organisers will poke further fun at the Oscars by hosting a “black carpet” event just metres away from the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, where the Academy Awards take place, days before the prestigious ceremony.
They have also employed Tony Rock, the brother of Oscars host Chris Rock, to helm the show at the TCL Chinese Theatre on 24 February, ahead of the Oscars on 28 February (16).
Fans can vote for Best Picture online, and nominees include Beasts of No Nation, Chi-raq, Concussion, Creed, Dope, and N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. The rest will be voted for by the All Def Academy.
Clips of the show will be broadcast on social media by All Def Digital, Simmons’ online entertainment venture.
– Cover Media