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Can Will Smith win his second Oscar, even though the slap heard around the world caused a lot of controversies?
That’s the question Apple has to answer now that it has said it will release “Emancipation.” A movie about a slave who escapes and paid Will Smith $35 million to star and make.
The streamer is betting that the uproar about Smith’s attack on Chris Rock at the Oscars has died, especially since Smith made an awkward video to apologize.
But even if Will Smith wins back-to-back Oscars for best actor, as Tom Hanks did, he won’t be able to pick up his award in person. He won’t even be able to get it through a satellite.
Smith quit the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences in April because he would almost certainly be kicked out. Almost right after that, the Academy Board of Governors decided to ban him from the Oscars telecast. As well as other events put on by the Academy for ten years.
The Academy can still nominate Smith for and win another Oscar, even though he can’t accept his award on TV.
It needs to be clarified how hard Smith will try to win the award or if Apple will help him in the crowded race for best actor. But Smith won’t be able to press the flesh at any gatherings of Academy members. Instead, he will have to go to events put on by groups like the SA and the Golden Globes.
How Will Smith go blacklisted
If Smith’s performance was good enough to overcome what the public thought was a “blacklisting.” The Academy’s Actors Branch can put him on their ballot for a nomination from January 12 to 17. They will make the names public on January 24.
In the movie, Smith plays Peter, a character based on the famous “Whipped Peter.” Whipped Peter was an escaped enslaved person whose picture of his beaten back. Became one of the most famous images of the anti-slavery movement during the American Civil War.
The Academy can put Smith forward for more than just that category.
The Academy comprises 18 branches with about 9,600 members who can vote. Each person also votes in the best picture category. In addition, there are ten spaces on their ballots for them to write their picks of movies for the year.
Smith made history last year when “King Richard” got him nominations for both best actor and picture. After Denzel Washington for “Fences,” he was the second Black man to be nominated in both categories and the first Black man to win an acting award while also producing the film.
Emancipation tells the right story
A theater in Washington D.C. showed “Emancipation” this past weekend. As part of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Legislative Conference. Groups from the Congressional Black Caucus, Historically Black Colleges and Universities, Power Rising, and #WinWithBlackWomen were there. At the event, both Smith and Fuqua spoke in person.
People who were there said good things about it right away. A former chairwoman of the Democratic National Committee, Donna Brazile, tweeted, “Powerful picture showing how Black people fought for freedom.”
The director of strategic communications for Emily’s List, Tonya J. Williams, called it “a powerful and gut-wrenching look at the horrors of slavery.” Will Smith, who played Peter so well, talked about Peter’s life to show that he and we all have a place in this world.
Angela Rye, CEO of IMPACT Strategies, said it was “not only a powerful story about our history. But also about how strong we are as a people.”
But it’s important to note that Smith is not the only one who owns “Emancipation.” Antoine Fuqua, a respected and admired director for over 25 years, is in charge. The same person who gave Denzel Washington his long-overdue lead actor statuette for “Training Day” (2001).
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Can Apple weather this “Emancipation” storm for all the creatives involved? Are people ready to forget about the slap and the Oscars? Award season will show.