Will Smith Praises Academy for #OscarsSoWhite Response

by Emily Krauser 1:30 PM PST, January 29, 2016
Photo: Getty Images

Will Smith continues to clarify his stance on the Oscars.

The 47-year-old actor's highly publicized decision to not attend the Academy Awards after only white actors were nominated for a second year in a row has been a hot topic as he continues his press tour for Concussion.

WATCH: Fresh Prince Star Janet Hubert Says Will and Jada Are 'Pretenders'

On Friday, Smith told BBC News that he was "very pleased with how quickly and aggressively the Academy responded" to the Oscars outrage, which included the group's"historic" changes to increase diversity by 2020.

"But I want to be very clear about the spirit of what I'm saying. This is far beyond me," he said. "This has nothing to do with me, this has nothing to do with awards. That's a really frivolous reason for me to put my hand up and make a statement. For me, this is much more about the idea of diversity and inclusion."

The Suicide Squad star also acknowledged that he is a member of the Academy, and the current debate is not about "us and them" but rather "we."

"It's much more a domestic family issue than it is a civil rights issue," he explained. "So it's a problem that we all have to solve."

MORE: A Comprehensive List of Celebrities Who Have Spoken Out About the Lack of Diversity at the Oscars

While it doesn't appear as if Smith's quick comment at the end of the BBC video was meant to call out the fact that he was backing his wife more than anything else, it certainly could be interpreted that way.

Shortly after the Oscar nominees were revealed earlier this month, Pinkett Smith, as well as director Spike Lee, made the decision to not attend the awards ceremony in February.

"The Academy has the right to acknowledge whomever they chose and invite whomever they choose, and now I think that it's our responsibility now to make the change… Begging for acknowledgment or even asking [for it] diminishes dignity and diminishes power," the 44-year-old actress said in a Facebook video posted on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, where she announced that she would not be attending the Academy Awards nor watching them.

The next day, Pinkett Smith did, however, acknowledge the Academy's determination to address their diversity issues, using similar language to that in her husband's more recent interview with BBC.

"I would like to express my gratitude to the Academy, specifically Cheryl Boone Isaacs, for such a quick response in regard to the issue at hand. I look forward to the future," she wrote on Facebook on Feb. 19.

The biggest outcry regarding the Smiths' stance has been that they're not making it for the greater good but because this year, Smith was snubbed by the Academy for his role as Dr. Bennet Omalu in Concussion. The performance was thought to make the father of three a contender at this year's Oscars.

WATCH: EXCLUSIVE: Will Smith Explains Why He Boycotted the 1989 GRAMMYs

Smith has previously acknowledged that the two times he was nominated for Best Actor -- in 2002 for Ali and 2007 for The Pursuit of Happyness -- he lost to black actors, Denzel Washington and Forest Whitaker, respectively.

His former Fresh Prince of Bel-Air co-star, Janet Hubert, and Whoopi Goldberg are among those who have questioned Pinkett Smith's decision, with the latter saying "you can't bitch about it only at Oscar time." Learn more in the video below.