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Will Smith is boycotting the Oscars in protest at a lack of diversity

“My wife’s not going. It would be awkward for me to show up with Charlize Theron.”

Focus Special Screening - London Source: Doug Peters/PA

WILL SMITH SAYS he will not attend the Academy Awards next month, joining his wife, Jada Pinkett-Smith, and others in protest against the second consecutive year that all acting nominees have been white.

Smith is the biggest name so far to withdraw from the Oscars, announcing his decision on the ABC network’s Good Morning America programme today.

“My wife’s not going. It would be awkward for me to show up with Charlize [Theron].

We’ve discussed it, but at this current time, we’re uncomfortable to stand there and say this is OK.

Smith, who some thought might be nominated for his performance in the NFL drama Concussion, said his decision was “deeply not about me.”

This is about children that are going to sit down and they’re going to watch the show and they’re not going to see themselves represented.

Smith would probably have been a sought-after award presenter at the ceremony, and his boycott follows announcements by the director Spike Lee (an honorary Oscar recipient this year) and Pinkett-Smith.

Michael Jackson-Off the Wall Director Spike Lee Source: Associated Press

Mark Ruffalo, nominated for his performance in the newspaper drama Spotlight, told BBC News today that he was “weighing” whether to skip the ceremony.

But later in the day, he clarified that he will attend the Oscars “in support of the victims of clergy sexual abuse and good journalism” — the subjects of Spotlight.

I do support the Oscar Ban movement’s position that the nominations do not reflect the diversity of our community.

Following the announcements by Lee and Pinkett-Smith, academy President Cheryl Boone Isaacs has pledged “dramatic changes” to diversity in the academy’s membership.

Smith, who has been nominated twice before, for Ali in 2001 and The Pursuit of Happyness in 2006, said he believes the industry can do better.

Diversity is the American superpower. That’s why we’re great. When I look at the series of nominations of the academy, it’s not reflecting that beauty.

Read: Black stars are boycotting the Oscars>

Read: Same snub, different year – #OscarsSoWhite is trending again as black actors are left out>

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