With their options rather limited, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Board of Governors has just decided that Will Smith will not be able to attend the Oscars for 10 years for misconduct on-stage at the 94th Academy Awards on March 27.
“The Board has decided, for a period of 10 years from April 8, 2022, Mr. Smith shall not be permitted to attend any Academy events or programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards,” said AMPAS president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson of Smith’s in a letter to the full membership after a contentious 9 AM PT virtual meeting today concluded. “We also hope this can begin a time of healing and restoration for all involved and impacted,” they added at the end of the letter, with no pun undoubtedly intended.
“I accept and respect the Academy’s decision,” Smith said in a succinct statement soon after AMPAS made their POV public.
In his preemptive letter the King Richard Best Actor Oscar winner proclaimed: “My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shockingand inexcusable. The list of those I have hurt is long and includes Chris, his family, many of my dear friends and loved ones, all those in attendance, and global audiences at home. I betrayed the trust of the Academy. I deprived other nominees and winners of their opportunity to celebrate and be celebrated for their extraordinary work. I am heartbroken. I want to put the focus back on those who deserve attention for their achievements and allow the Academy to get back to the incredible work it does to support creativity and artistry in film.”
While he won’t be allowed to hand out the Best Actress award at the 95th Academy Awards, as is traditional for the previous Best Actor winner, there is nothing in today’s AMPAS decision that prevents the busy Smith from being nominated in future years. Such a move on the part of the Board of Governors would have been unprecedented for AMPAS, and likely could blow up in its face.
Not that the now banned Smith didn’t have a good run among the Hollywood elite group . The former Fresh Prince had been a member of the Academy since 2001, joining just five years after his big screen blockbuster debut in Independence Day.
It was Smith’s resignation last week that forced the AMPAS leadership to move up its meeting from April 18 to today.“We were required to provide Mr. Smith notice 15 days prior to the board meeting at which such action might be taken, and also give him the opportunity to provide the board a written statement no less than five days prior to that meeting,” an April 6 memo from AMPAS prez Rubin explained, noting that those rules and timeline had been essentially taken over by Smith with his resignation.