By Chinelo Eze
09 April 2022 |
Following the Oscars slap, the Academy Board who met virtually on Friday decided to pass a ten-year ban sanction on Will Smith, after he slapped Chris Rock at the 94th Oscars awards. A statement by the board read, “Today, the Board of Governors convened a meeting to discuss how best to respond to Will Smith’s…
US actor Will Smith accepts the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for “King Richard” onstage during the 94th Oscars at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, California on March 27, 2022. (Photo by Robyn Beck / AFP)
Following the Oscars slap, the Academy Board who met virtually on Friday decided to pass a ten-year ban sanction on Will Smith, after he slapped Chris Rock at the 94th Oscars awards.
A statement by the board read, “Today, the Board of Governors convened a meeting to discuss how best to respond to Will Smith’s actions at the Oscars, in addition to accepting his resignation. The Board has decided, for 10 years from April 8, 2022, that Mr Smith shall not be permitted to attend any Academy events or programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Award.”
Before the ban, Will Smith resigned from the Academy which limited the sanctions the board would have meted out on the 53-year-old actor.
Earlier, the King Richard star had stated via representative “I accept and respect the academy’s decision.”
However, with the ten-year ban on Will Smith, what are the implications of the sanction on his career.
A former lawyer at the Academy Cue Rachel Fiset says that Smith is not restricted from nominations or winning in the future stating that if he wins, he can’t be present to accept the win but rather through a representative.
The Academy sanctions could have been worse if Will Smith was permanently, banned from being nominated or winning future awards, and perhaps if they had repealed his first and just awarded Oscar.
Additionally, the consequences of the sanctions are that Will Smith can not vote for awards for the next ten years, which were also automatically was attached to his decision to resign from the Academy.
Traditionally having won the best actor category he ought to present the best actress award next year and can not do that anymore. According to Mitra Ahouraian an entertainment lawyer, ‘‘It is a special moment in and of itself.
The ten-year ban came as a shocker as Ahouraian says, “It had to be a long enough period to feel like punishment” while Fiset called it a “pretty heavy-ish punishment.”
Fiset added that “It may reflect how the industry is thinking of Will Smith at this time. It looks like the temperature in Hollywood is angry at him, there is a bad feeling and it’s lingering. This shows that the board of governors, which includes producers, actors, writers, directors a little sliver of every part of the industry is showing what the movie-making industry feels about him right now.”
Some issues were left unattended to by the Academy board as they did according to Fiset ‘‘They didn’t address whether he could rejoin again after 10 years. They were silent on that because it was not the question in front of them. Since he’s no longer a member of the group, they could only choose to let him in or not at the awards.”
In the history of the Oscars, only a few members have been expelled, this list t includes a convicted sex offender Harvey Weinstein and director Roman Polanksi, who was expelled in 2018 four decades after he pleaded guilty to statutory rape and then fled the country to avoid a harsh prison sentence.
The Academy did not repeal Smith’s Oscar; neither was Weinstein’s nor Polanski’s Oscars repealed and Polanski got his in 2003 for directing “The Pianist,” decades after his guilty plea.
The ban does not mean that Smith’s future films will not be eligible for nominations and awards, which according to Ahouraian ‘‘Would be seen as too extreme and unfair to the hundreds or thousands of people who work on any given movie.’’
She added “It wouldn’t be just to disqualify his films from future awards given he’s not the only one creating those films. It would in essence end his career in Hollywood since the possibility of an Oscar is always an aspiration, and who would want to rule that out by working with him? That decision would be far too extreme and I don’t think Hollywood would back it.”
The Academy has also apologised to Chris Rock, recognising the grace Rock used in dealing with the situation they said “During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. For this, we are sorry. This was an opportunity for us to set an example for our guests, viewers and our Academy family around the world, and we fell short unprepared for the unprecedented. We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted. Thank you.”