Will Smith

Facing Continued Criticism, Film Academy Looks to Increase Diversity

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Awards season has become about something altogether separate from gold statues this year: the general lack of diversity in Hollywood, as well as the complete absence of people of color from the best acting categories of the Academy Awards.  Talk of all this started with the announcement of this year’s nominees, and it’s only intensified since, gaining steam with every new actor who boycotts the ceremony. (Jada Pinkett Smith’s husband, Will, has since joined her in her boycott, saying that “Diversity is America’s super power.”) After years of this recurring controversy, the Film Academy seems to finally be addressing it as a problem that demands fixing. 
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This Week at the Movies: ‘Joy,’ ‘The Hateful Eight,’ ‘The Revenant’

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Christmas Day is always a big target date for movie-going, with multiplexes and arthouses alike offering up copious options for post-Christmas dinner awkward family time and post-Chinese food bonding alike. And this year offers up even more of a bumper crop, since Christmas falls on the traditional new release day of Friday (though a certain space opera will certainly remain atop this week’s box office). Here’s what’s out there for the holidays, and what’s worth your time:
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Will Smith’s ‘Concussion’ Is a Tough, Angry Jab at the NFL

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Back in September, shortly after the first trailer debuted for Peter Landesman’s Concussion, the New York Times ran a story alleging the filmmakers had — if I may use a baseball metaphor for a football movie — switched from a fastball to an underhand pitch. The story, drawn from emails attained during the Sony hack the previous winter, quoted from multiple email exchanges between studio execs, director Landesman, and reps of star Will Smith, contending the film’s dramatization of Dr. Bennet Omalu’s crusade against the National Football League had been softened considerably from the script’s initial drafts. The Times may have been right, but if they were, all I can say is this: based on the movie we got, it’s hard to imagine how scathing those earlier drafts must’ve been.
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Will Smith Has a New Explanation for Turning Down ‘Django Unchained’

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Will Smith’s almost-casting in the leading role of Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained has been part of that film’s lore since its production, with Smith earlier insisting he’d ultimately passed on the role of the slave-turned-bounty-hunter for reasons that sounded vaguely egotistical. Now, on the promotional circuit for his new NFL drama Concussion, the former Fresh Prince has a more detailed explanation for turning down the film.
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