The Academy's verdict: 10-year ban for Will Smith from attending the Oscars for slapping Chris Rock

The Academy's verdict: 10-year ban for Will Smith from attending the Oscars for slapping Chris Rock

It’s optimistic of them to believe the Oscars will exist in 10 years. Or, if they do, that anyone will televise them.

I doubt subscription cable would want them. Maybe they’ll air as a special presentation on the E! network, sort of an adjunct afterthought to the red-carpet fashion analysis.

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This punishment feels … about right, surprisingly. Don’t take the Oscar from him, since far worse people than Smith still retain their own Oscars, but show him that if you behave the way he did then you’re not fit to attend the party.

There wasn’t much else they could do, notes Variety. Smith already resigned from the Academy last week so they couldn’t strip him of his membership. And taking his Oscar would have ignited a thousand “Why does Roman Polanski still have his Oscar?” stories. All they could do was tell him to stay away from an event that’s lost most of its cultural relevance already.

He can still be nominated for Oscars despite his ban. That’s the only way I think this might turn interesting — if, a few years from now, Smith gives another performance that generates Oscar buzz. Everyone will understand him being banned from the event next year but what if he’s up for an Oscar five years from now? Memories will have faded by then, so pressure will be put on the Academy by his fans to let him attend.

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And if he doesn’t win, or if he’s not nominated for an acclaimed performance, the Academy will be accused of deliberately snubbing him because it didn’t want to deal with the headaches of whether to lift its ban to allow him to be properly honored.

Presumably Jada Smith can attend and accept on his behalf? That won’t be awkward at all.

By the way, there continues to be some dispute over why Smith wasn’t removed from the venue immediately after he slapped Chris Rock:

Additionally, contradictory accounts arose if Oscars producer Will Packer did and did not ask Smith to leave. Attempting to get out in front of AMPAS, Packer sat down with GMA on April 1 to tell the ABC morning show that the decision to force Smith to leave fell on Rock’s hands.

That the police “were about to physically remove Will Smith,” the Girls Trip EP said. “I wasn’t part of those conversations. …Rock has made it clear that he didn’t want to make a bad situation worse.”

However, sources told Deadline following that GMA interview that Packer, who directly spoke to Smith too in the minutes following the shocking slap, was conflating from a conversation that happened after Smith slapped Rock onstage, where the comic told Packer he did not want to press charges. Had he chosen to do that, the LAPD would have removed Smith and arrested him. Had Packer actually asked Rock if he wanted Smith removed from the building, he might have gotten a different answer, we hear.

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I don’t understand why the police didn’t arrest Smith despite Rock not wanting to press charges. It’s not like they needed his testimony to prove that battery had occurred. If you shoot someone in full view of a police officer, I’m reasonably sure the cop can haul you in regardless of the victim’s feelings.

I’ll leave you with this grim exchange between husband and wife that’s making the rounds today. My new theory for why Smith exploded at the Oscars is that he’s deeply unhappy in his marriage and was overcompensating to hide that fact.

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Jazz Shaw 5:31 PM on October 01, 2023
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