Leslie Jones 'Abstained' from Voting for Most Academy Awards Over Lack of Black Nominees

"It didn't take long," Leslie Jones said of her voting process, noting that Cynthia Erivo was one of her only votes

Leslie Jones
Photo: Roy Rochlin/Getty

Leslie Jones is calling out the Academy Awards for the lack of black nominees this year.

Jones, who became a member of the Oscars voting pool ahead of the 2018 ceremony, shared on Friday that the selection process “didn’t take long” this year, as she only voted for categories where black filmmakers, composers and actors received nominations.

“Welp I just finished voting for the Oscars. It didn’t take long cause there are no black people on it,” she wrote on Twitter and Instagram, noting that she voted for Cynthia Erivo “and abstained from the rest.”

“More black people please,” she added in a hashtag.

Erivo is the only black actor to have been nominated this year, picking up two for Harriet: one for best actress and another for best original song. Erivo is also the only nominee of color in an acting category.

The Saturday Night Live star, 53, went on to disable Instagram comments on the post, after receiving many reactions with some social media users criticizing her for not giving support to Asian and Latin nominees.

Others also pointed out that Jones seemed to have missed out on voting for Matthew A. Cherry’s short, Hair Love, an animated film about a young black girl who goes to her father for help when she has trouble styling her hair.

However, Jones went on to share that she did vote for the movie. “Ok geeeez yes I voted for @MatthewACherry tooo didn’t think I needed to say that!” she wrote.

When Academy Award nominations were first announced in January, Variety noted that there are only five black nominees, representing a three-year low for the awards show.

In addition to Erivo and Cherry, composer Joshuah Brian Campbell — who co-wrote the original song from Harriet — Hair Love producer Karen Rupert Toliver and director Ladj Ly — who is nominated for best international feature (Les Misérables) — are the other nominees.

“It feels a bit like I’ve got a responsibility to represent all the people of color who have done incredible work this year,” Erivo told the outlet at the Screen Actors Guild Awards. “I want hopefully for this to serve as an example as to why we need to start celebrating people of color as well — really paying attention to how we vote for them and how we vote for the people who are nominated. We need to see some changes.

Cynthia Erivo
Cynthia Erivo. Michael Tran/Getty

#OscarsSoWhite first began trending in 2015 after the Academy came under fire for failing to nominate any actors of color for the second year in a row. Well-known Hollywood black stars like Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith skipped the 88th annual awards in response.

In an attempt to diversify its voting body, the Academy invited a record 683 new members the following year. Jones was one of the new members.

The 92nd Annual Academy Awards will air live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood on Feb. 9 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC.

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