Controversy over diversity expected to make itself felt at Oscars

Preperations are underway for the Oscars but it is not known how many stars may boycott it over the race row Credit: REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

It looks for all the world like business as usual - technicians, builders, all preparing the most famous stretch of pavement in the entertainment world - Hollywood Boulevard by the Dolby Theatre - to host the cream of the film world at the Oscars.

But organisers know things will be different this year.

The red carpet is already being rolled out for the awards but the question is who will turn up? Credit: REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni

There have been diversity issues in the past, but this year the talk of boycotting the event has made it come to the forefront of Oscars season.

The papers are all talking about where some prominent black filmmakers are spending Oscars night - Spike Lee's watching a basketball game in New York, Ryan Coogler the Creed director is hosting a charity event in Michigan with Selma director Ava Duvernay to support poor black communities effected by water supplies contaminated by lead. All coincidental with the timing they insist and not in the latter two cases a deliberate snub of the Oscars event.

But while it is unclear how many stars will follow the example of Will Smith and his wife Jada Pinkett Smith, in deliberately staying away from the Oscars in protest at the all white nominations in the acting categories and the general lack of diversity across the nominees, the controversy will make itself felt off the red carpet. A picket line is expected outside the event, and demonstrations are planned elsewhere in the US.

And in a clear message to the Oscar voters black figures in the entertainment world held the first All Def Movie Awards, organised by the media mogul and co founder of Hip Hop label Def Jam.

Its aim? To showcase the talent the Oscars ignored say the organising team.

Ice Cube arriving at the All Def Movie Awards in LA, the so called black Oscars. Credit: .

Straight Outta Compton, the acclaimed Hip Hop film produced by Ice Cube, was named best film- it didn't even make that category in the Oscars, enraging many. And Will Smith, ignored in the Oscar nominations, got a special award.

What's more the awards show will run on TV on Sunday - against the Oscars.

Will it stop tens of millions tuning in to see if the likes of Leonardo Di Caprio win on the night? Of course not. But the point will be made, loud and clear that the academy has a lot of people watching and waiting to see if its proposed changes to embrace diversity, really do happen, And soon.