Actress Jada Pinkett Smith and director Spike Lee are at the forefront of a call to boycott the Oscars ceremony coming up on 28th February over the predominance of white actors and films with only white characters.
All 20 nominations for best actor/actress and supporting actor/actress went to white performers.
Smith, in particular, said she wouldn’t be watching, after her husband Will Smith was not nominated for his performance in the NFL movie Concussion.
In a video message on Facebook she added that it was time for “people of colour” to disregard the awards.
She said: “Begging for acknowledgement, or even asking, diminishes dignity and diminishes power, and we are a dignified people and we are powerful.”
“Let’s let the academy do them, with all grace and love. And let’s do us differently.”
More than 4.5 million people had watched the video by Monday afternoon.
The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has made efforts to be more inclusive in recent years.
This year’s broadcast will be hosted by comedian Chris Rock and produced by Django Unchained producers Reginald Hudlin and David Hill.
The Academy is yet to respond to calls for the boycott.
The issue has arisen as British actor Idris Elba accused UK TV of not having enough diversity.
Several Oscars watchers had tipped Elba for a nod for Beasts Of No Nation.
The NWA biopic Straight Outta Compton also failed to get a best picture nomination, after being recognised for its original screenplay.
In a lengthy Instagram post, Lee said he could not support the “lily white” Oscars.
Fellow black actor Don Cheadle joked that he wouldn’t be seen as “they got me parking cars on G level”.
Twitter reacted quickly with the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite being widely used to comment on the issue.
Among those to tweet their concern about the nominations was New York mayor Bill de Blasio who said: “Hollywood fine with taking $ from people of colour. Also apparently fine with ignoring their talent. #OscarsSoWhite”