Will Smith is facing a boycott by Oscars voters over his ‘Slapgate’ scandal.
The 54-year-old actor’s performance in his new film ‘Emancipation’, in which he plays a runaway slave during America’s Civil War era, has divided members of the Academy Awards who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter about whether they would nominate him for the part.
While some say they would never vote for Will due to him slapping Chris Rock, 57, at this year’s 94th Oscars, other voters on the board said only his performance should be the focus of any nomination decision.
Apple plans to release ‘Emancipation’ on its streaming service in December, less than a year after Will stormed the stage to slap Chris over a joke about the shaven head being sported at the ceremony by his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, 51, who suffers from alopecia – before he weept after the assault on stage when picking up his best actor trophy for his performance in ‘King Richard’.
The release window means the film will be eligible for consideration at the 95th Oscars in 2023.
Lawrence David Foldes, a member of producers branch of Academy voters, told The Hollywood Reporter: “Would I vote for Smith? NO F****** WAY.
“His shameful violent outburst and pathetic snivelling ‘acceptance’ diatribe witnessed by millions – and his blatant disrespect of the Academy – should preclude him from any consideration and reward from AMPAS (Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences) members for life.”
Among others on the board who spoke anonymously to The Hollywood Reporter, one said when asked of they would vote for Will: “Heavy sigh. No chance I would vote for him.”
Another said: “Would I vote for Will Smith? Right after I vote for Trump,” while yet another voter critic said when asked the same question: “F*** him. So, no.”
But another said about ‘Emancipation’: “Hundreds of people worked on that film, and they shouldn't be penalised. As far as it being a contender, if it’s well-received, well done and deserving, it should be allowed to be given its shot and let the voters decide.
“Re: Will? I don't know. He did something terrible. He apologised. We have to allow people to grow and learn and atone.”
Will has repeatedly apologised for slapping Chris on stage in March and reached out to the comic to get in touch, admitting his attack was “unacceptable” and “inexcusable”.