“At this current time we’re uncomfortable to stand there and say this is OK,” Smith said during an appearance on Good Morning America, Thursday.
“I appreciated the push,” Smith said of Pinkett Smith’s video message. “There’s a position we hold in this community and if we’re not part of the solution, we’re part of the problem.”
The Concussion star insisted that Pinkett Smith would have made the video even if he “had been nominated and no other people of color” were. “This is so deeply not about me,” he explained.
He continued, “there’s going to be children who are gonna sit down and watch this show and they’re not gonna be represented.”
While Smith contends that all the acting nominees are “beautiful and deserving,” he “feels like its going the wrong direction.”
The actor doesn’t place blame with the Academy, alone, however.
“The nominations reflect the Academy, the Academy reflects the industry… and the industry reflects America,” Smith said, continuing, “There’s a regressive slide toward separatism, toward racial and religious disharmony.”
He does have some suggestions for the organization, though.
“At this point, the Academy is 84 percent Caucasian and 77 percent male,” Smith told Robin Roberts. “It’s just difficult to get a diverse, cultural sampling from that group. It’s a systematic bias that needs to be addressed across the industry.”
Smith understands that there are more pressing national matters than who’s nominated for a trophy – “We make movies – this is not that serious” – but said the awards do play into the bigger picture.
“It plants seeds for dreams,” he contended. “Historically, Hollywood has led. We have to get out front – there’s a disharmony that is brewing in our country and in our industry, and I want no parts of that.”
Not everyone supports Smith and his wife’s stance on the issue – in fact, the actor’s former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air costar Janet Hubert has been vocal against Pinkett Smith, saying, “It’s just self-contrived because her hubby didn’t get a nomination.”