What about Weinstein and Polanski? Will Smith's Oscar safe as 'split' Academy worried about 'rank hypocrisy'

'It would be madness and rank hypocrisy to take a stand' says source as Academy meets to decide the fate of 'King Richard' actor for slapgate


                            What about Weinstein and Polanski? Will Smith's Oscar safe as 'split' Academy worried about 'rank hypocrisy'
Will Smith accepts the Actor in a Leading Role award during the 94th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
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The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences will decide on Friday, April 8, 2022, what the fate of Will Smith will be, and it appears the actor may be off the hook. According to reports, the board members are "almost entirely split" about the decision to punish the 'King Richard' actor, as the controversy around slapgate continues to build. 

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The group isn't the only one weighing its future with Smith, as we reported on April 5, Smith's talent agency is also divided on whether or not to drop the actor. On April 1, Smith chose to resign voluntarily from the Academy, widely seen as an attempt to protect the Oscar he won for 'King Richard'. The decision also meant he could be invited back for future ceremonies, and even be nominated unless the Academy chose to ban him for good.

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That is what they are currently weighing on but reportedly can't seem to decide. In the first week of April, the board voted to expedite the hearing into Smith's case, but now with judgment due, it appears that speed has left them completely divided.

Will Smith appears to slap Chris Rock onstage during the 94th Annual Academy Awards at Dolby Theatre on March 27, 2022, in Hollywood, California. (Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)

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'Hollywood is a law unto itself'

With suspension and expulsion now off the table, the board has relatively few choices it could make. For one, Smith could be barred from future ceremonies and awards, or he could also be stripped of the 'Best Actor' award that he won. But history appears to be on Smith's side. The last time the Academy rescinded an award was in 1969, for the documentary 'Young Americans', which was actually released a year prior. 

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Speaking to The Sun, a source close to the Academy detailed the chaos that has reigned over the past several days. "There have been at least two different Zoom and conference calls with various members, and specific governors over the past ten days. The members — of which there are over 9,000, with hundreds of WhatsApp groups flying about — are completely split," the source said.

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The person added, "The governors themselves are also said to be in disagreement." The reason for that split appears to be the fact that those in worse scandals haven't had their awards rescinded. "Given, though, that convicted sexual predator Harvey Weinstein and fugitive child rapist Roman Polanski haven’t been stripped of their gongs, the general consensus is that it would be madness and rank hypocrisy to take such a stand now," the source said. 

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Harvey Weinstein and designer Georgina Chapman arrive at the Oscars at Hollywood & Highland Center on February 24, 2013, in Hollywood, California. (Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

 

So does that mean Smith is completely off the hook? Perhaps not, as the source noted, "But, as we all know, Hollywood is a law unto itself, frankly." There's still a distinct possibility Smith could face some punishment, but what that is seems to be unclear at the moment. The Academy has 9,000 members and a 54-member board of governors. It is the board that will make the final decision, but with even the members split, it appears the task for the board is quite herculean. 

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To date, the Academy has banned five celebrities: Carmine Caridi, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Cosby, Roman Polanski, and cinematographer Adam Kimmel. It's a very rare club that Smith could join, given that a ban is more likely than being asked to return his award.