Spike Lee on Oscars and Diversity Outrage: 'It's a Misdirection Play'

The famed director explains why he is skipping the Oscars in protest of the lack of diversity among nominees.
6:33 | 01/20/16

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Transcript for Spike Lee on Oscars and Diversity Outrage: 'It's a Misdirection Play'
We begin with that oscars backlash. George Clooney joining the list of stars speaking out about the lack of diversity and spike lee is here to weigh in after ABC's linsey Davis brings us the latest. Reporter: This morning, pressure is mounting as more stars speak out against the lack of diversity in this year's Oscar nominations including one of tinseltown's biggest names, George Clooney telling "Variety" Tuesday, I think that african-americans have a real fair point that the industry isn't representing them well enough. For the second consecutive year, all 20 nominees in the actor category are white. Resparking the #oscarssowhite. Whoopi Goldberg spoke out on Tuesday. Why is this a conversation that we only have once a year? Because every -- every year we get all fired up and then the rest of the year nobody says anything. Reporter: The tension has been around for decades. Look at this clip from the 1988 academy awards. Every 20 years we get one so we ain't due for one until like 204. Black people will not ride the caboose of society and we will not bring up the rear anymore. Reporter: On Monday academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs said she's heartbroken and frustrated about the lack of inclusion in this year's nominations. We all need to do now is actually take some action. Reporter: Oscar winner Lupita nyong'o added her voice to the growing chorus saying it has me thinking about unconscious prejudice and what merits prestige in our culture. Along with british actor Idris Elba who thought many deserved one for "Beasts of no nation." Talent is everywhere but opportunity isn't. We haven't done enough to nurture our diverse talent. Reporter: For "Good morning America," linsey Davis, ABC news, New York. Sfooik joins us, an honorary Oscar recipient, two time Oscar nominee. So you're not going to the oscars. I'm going to a knick game. I sold my tickets but after I put my essay out my wife and I decided we're not going so I bought my tickets back. February 28th at the world's most famous arena, Madison square garden to see my beloved Orange and blue hopefully beat the Miami heat. Going to the game. We know what you'll be doing. What should everybody else do? Here's the thing, I have never used the word boycott. All I said was my wife, my beautiful wife and I we're not coming. That's it and I gave the reason so I never used the word boycott. I never have said to anybody, it's like do you -- we're not coming. Not going. Reverend Al Sharpton and others are saying -- That's them. Look, I love reverend Al, you know, we stick up for Brooklyn, but I'm not -- I'm not going. My wife is not going. Everyone else can do what they want to do. Chris rock is in a tough spot. So is Cheryl Boone Isaacs. So is she. Lease start with Chris rock. Ricky Gervais. Chris rock is a grown ass man. He can do what he wants to do Ena support him either way. Either way. Either way. What would you do if you were him? I don't -- look, Michael, the guy -- the guy that missed the field goal, would have lost a super bowl. There's no IFS. So you're just -- you're going to be neutral. I'll be at Madison square garden. Okay. Let's talk about Cheryl Boone Isaacs then. She says we need to make some real changes and saying she's going to take dramatic steps to change the -- In fact, when I received my honorary Oscar at the governor's balance in November, she began that night saying this is her plan, so it's not going -- I mean, we can't say hocus-pocus, presto Chango and the -- The Numbers are amazing. 94% white, 7% -- Here's the thing and I'd like to state this, the academy -- okay, my man Michael Strahan over there, he knows what I'm talking about. This whole academy thing is a misdirection play. Okay, how. We're chasing the guy down the field. He doesn't even have the ball. The other guy is high-stepping in the end zone so this goes -- it goes further than the academy awards and has to go back to the gatekeepers. Studios. The people who have the light. Have you seen "Hamilton"? I have. Got to be in the room. We're not in the room. We are not in the room. The executive, when they have these green light meetings quarterly where they look at the scripts and look at who is in it and decide what we're making, what we're not making. How do you change that? We're going to need -- Micha Michael. My man -- What do you want me to do? Go into meetings and threaten people? You know what I'm talking about. I got you. We need the Rooney rule. Okay. NFL, we need a Rooney rule. Some type of rule -- So quota. Yes. If the NFL -- if the head coaching job opens up or same executive position, you cannot hire anyone to any of you minority candidates and that has increased the number of minority coaches and executives in the NFL and -- You got to widen the pool out. You have to. We can't go to that old tired -- we can't find any qualified candidates. That's bs. How about your own experience? You make your movies. Do you feel like you've been snubbed like you haven't had a fair hearing? S What won best film 1989? I don't know actually. "Driving miss F'ing daisy." What did you have in 1989? "Do the right thing." That film is being taught in colleges, schools all over -- no one can watching "Driving miss daisy now." So it also shows you that the work is what's important because that's the stuff that's going to stand for years, not an award. Not whether you're a grammy or a Tony or whatnot. So even if you don't get the Oscar there is some success but still a huge problem in the whole studio system. From top to bottom. Spike lee, thanks very much. You're going to be back in our next hour talking about your new Michael Jackson film. Hee, hee, hee. Thank you. My man. Peace.

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

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