Ice Cube is getting sick of answering questions about #OscarsSoWhite.
As a producer on last year’s Straight Outta Compton, which did not receive a widely expected Best Picture nomination, Cube has found himself front and center in the debate about the Academy’s race problem. After another year in which all 20 acting nominees are white, there has developed a movement on behalf of black filmmakers and actors to boycott the annual awards show.
So when Cube and his Ride Along 2 co-star Kevin Hart appeared on The Graham Norton Show on Britain’s BBC One Friday night, the host asked him to weigh in on the controversy, wondering if he plans to attend the ceremony next month.
“I never used to go anyway,” Cube answered, laughing. “You can’t boycott something that you never went to anyway.” Now that his horse is out of the “horse race,” he said he just plans to tear up his ticket and move on.
“We don’t do movies for the industry,” he continued, gesturing at Hart beside him. “We do movies for the fans, for the people. And the industry, if they give you a trophy or not or pat you on the back or not, it’s nice but it’s not something you should dwell on.”
“We got accolades from all levels, from our core fans, from our curious fans, from people that didn’t even think they wanted to see that movie,” Cube continued. “We got so much praise for the movie. So how could we be mad that one other Academy or guild or anybody didn’t say it’s their number one?”
“It’s like crying about not having enough icing on your cake,” he added. “You know what I mean? It’s just ridiculous.”
“That’s about the sanest description of this whole process of awards that I’ve ever heard,” actor Hugh Laurie, who was also on Norton’s panel, said in response.
Those other accolades explain why so many Oscar prognosticators believed Straight Outta Compton would land on the Best Picture shortlist. In the weeks leading up to the nominations announcement, the film received nods from both the Producers Guild and Screen Actors Guild. The last movie to get both of those recognitions and fail to make the Best Picture list was 2012’s Bridesmaids.
But while Cube has come around to some form of acceptance, he struck a less gracious tone earlier in the week when he appeared on Power 105.1’s The Angie Martinez Show.
“I think we deserve Best Picture, especially by them leaving two out. They usually pick 10 movies. They only picked eight this year,” he said, referencing the Academy’s convoluted nomination process. “I do what I’m supposed to do to promote the project. I ain’t gonna kiss no ass for nothing, so maybe that is the problem.”
Or maybe, as The Daily Show demonstrated in a pointed segment on the controversy last week, the film was missing a key ingredient.
“Maybe we should’ve put a slave in Straight Outta Compton,” correspondent Roy Wood Jr. remarked. “I think that’s where we messed up. That’s where we messed up. Just one random slave for the Academy members to recognize us as a real, black movie.”