Spike Lee lauds academy changes, still plans to skip Oscars

FILE - In a Tuesday, Dec. 1, 2015 file photo, Spike Lee attends the premiere of "Chi-Raq" at the Ziegfeld Theatre, in New York. Calls for a boycott of the Academy Awards are growing over the Oscars’ second straight year of mostly white nominees, as Spike Lee and Jada Pinkett Smith each said Monday, Jan. 17, 2016, that they will not attend this year’s ceremony. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)
(Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

PARK CITY, Utah (AP) – Spike Lee applauds the Academy for making changes to increase diversity in its ranks, but he is still skipping the Oscars.

“We have principles,” Lee said in an interview with The Associated Press. “I commend the Academy for what they’ve done. But that does not change our mind. The Knicks will be victorious – I hope. I’ll be at the Garden.”

After last week’s Oscar nominations revealed an all-white slate of acting nominees for the second consecutive year, Lee said he would skip the Feb. 28 Academy Awards and go to the Knicks game instead.

“My wife and I will be in my courtside seats,” he said.

Still, he praised Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs and the organization’s board of governors for “trying to do the right thing.”

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced Friday that it would double the number of its female and minority members by 2020 and implemented other changes aimed at increasing diversity among the largely white and male organization.

Lee thinks the changes could help: “It’s a start.”

The filmmaker is at the Sundance Film Festival this week to premiere his new documentary, “Michael Jackson’s Journey from Motown to ‘Off the Wall.'”

(Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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