Will Smith Says Oscar Nominations Don't Reflect Diversity in the U.S.

The "Concussion" actor says this year's Academy Award nominations reflect a "series of challenges that we're having in our country at the moment."
8:04 | 01/21/16

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Transcript for Will Smith Says Oscar Nominations Don't Reflect Diversity in the U.S.
Right out to robin. She has that exclusive interview with will smith in L.A. Hey, robin. All right, George, will smith, one of the actors who many feel should have been nominated for his performance in "Concussion." Yeah, he hoped to receive a nomination. Many actors hope to hear their name called nomination morning but will smith says he's even more concerned about what he sees as a serious issue that goes far beyond the film industry. Is Hollywood like you expected it to be and you dreamed of it as a id? The beauty of Hollywood and combined with American ideals is the ultimate dreams for humanity, the basis of the American concept of anything is possible with hard work and dedication and no matter your race or your religion, creed, none of that matters in America. The way you describe it and for everyone, their American dream is different. It's not all the same and they want to see that reflected in film. Absolutely. And I think that is part of the conversation that's going on right now. Absolutely. And people raising their hand and saying, hey, I'm not seeing myself being recognized by the academy. Can you understand their feelings? Yeah. I think that diversity is the American superpower. That's why we are great. So many different people from so many different places adding their ideas, their inspiration and their influences to this beautiful American gumbo, you know, and for me, at its best, Hollywood represents and then creates the imagery for that beauty. But for my part, I think that I have to protect and fight for the ideals that make our country and make our Hollywood community great. And so when I look at the series of nominations of the academy it's not reflecting that beauty. Yeah, you said Hollywood at its best and many feel we're not seeing Hollywood at its best right now. Even George Clooney mentioned that ten years ago, he thought the academy was doing better. What is your opinion? Well, it's really interesting. I've been nominated twice for academy awards. And I've never lost to a white person. The first time I lost to Denzel and the second time I lost to forest Whitaker so for me that was huge. So when I see this list and series of nominations that come out and everybody is fantastic and that's the complexity of this issue, everyone is beautiful and deserving and is fantastic but it feels like it's going the wrong direction, you know. When I look at it, the nominations reflect the academy. The academy reflects the industry, reflects Hollywood and then the industry reflects America. It reflects a series of challenges that we are having in our country at the moment. There's a regressive slide towards separatism, towards racial and religious disharmony and that's not the Hollywood that I want to leave behind. That's not the industry, that's not the America I want to leave behind. The academy is under pressure as more stars speak out about the lack of diversity in this year's Oscar nominations including will's wife Jada Pinkett smith. With all grace and love and let's do us differently. Your beautiful wife, Jada. Yeah, uh-huh. So passionate. Yeah. And so powerful. Absolutely. And letting the world know her thoughts. Absolutely. About the lack of diversity in Hollywood with her posting. Absolutely. And has been seen by millions. Were you aware that she was going to do that? No, I was out of the country at the time and I came home and what happened? What was your first reaction? Was it a fist pump or was it like, ooh? She's deeply passionate and when she is moved, she has to go. And I heard her words and I was knocked over, you know, I was happy to be married to that woman but I appreciated the push, there's a position that we hold in this community and if we're not a part of the solution we're part of the problem. And it was her call to action for herself and for me and for our family to be a part of the solution. And how do you respond to people who feel that only reason she made those remarks is because she was upset that you didn't receive a nomination this year? There's probably a part of that in there, but for Jada, had I been nominated and no other people of color were, she would have made the video anyway. We'd still be here having this conversation. This is so deeply not about me. This is about children that are going to sit down and they're going to watch this show and they're not going to see themselves represented. We heard that Jada said that she is not going to be attending nor will she be watching. Will you be attending the oscars. No, my wife is not going. It would be awk ward for me to show up with Charlize, you know, so, no, you know, we've discussed it and we're a part of this community, but at this current time, we're uncomfortable to stand there and say that this is okay. George, Lara, Michael, the way he Sadie versety is America's superpower. Really resonated with a lot of people in the room when he said that yesterday. And this is something I think that you could relate to especially, George, being married to the great Ali Wentworth. He said he would have just preferred a little heads-up to Jada's posting. Had no objection to it but would have appreciated a little -- I was smiling his smile as I saw it. I actually looked over at George and said, you can relate. And he was very honest about it right there. He was extremely honest but he said it really it's a call to action for the family now that was Jada but he is really understanding that this could be a new role for him in Hollywood to play this and we're going to talk a little more about that in the 8:00 hour. He's going to talk about people that helped him along the way and where he sees where Hollywood and this country could be headed in the right direction. Robin, tell him if it's okay we'll adopt diversity is America's superpower. That's coming up in our next

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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