Veteran Actor Says Will Smith Should Return Oscar


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Veteran actor Harry J. Lennix said Will Smith should return his Oscar in the wake of Smith’s onstage feud with comedian Chris Rock late last month.

In a Variety column published Saturday, Lennix, a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, wrote that Smith must realize that actions have consequences, adding that the best option for him is to return his prize. .

“Smith must mail his gold trophy back to the Academy and say something publicly along the lines of, ‘Out of respect for the 94 years of honor bestowed on this award, I in good conscience do not feel worthy to call its custodian. to be. ,’” Lennix wrote in his column.

“Of the many disturbing things said in the wake of the blow, I found the most irritating reference to the influence of a higher power during his surreal acceptance speech after he won for his work in ‘King Richard’ less than an hour later. his act of violence — and the Academy’s equally shocking decision not to remove Smith from the ceremony,” Lennix added.

Smith slammed Rock after the comedian joked about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith. Smith won the Academy Award for Best Male Actor later in the evening for his portrayal of Venus and Serena Williams’ father, Richard Williams, in the “King Richard” biopic.

Lennix also wrote that the incident robbed the “prestige” of the awards ceremony, noting that other attendees gave Smith a standing ovation after he won the Oscar.

“The stain on the Motion Picture Academy is not easy to fix. The only hope of just mercy must be for Smith to voluntarily return his Best Actor award,” Lennix concluded in his column.

The academy’s board of directors announced Friday that they have imposed a 10-year ban on Smith from attending an academy event as a result of his altercation with Rock.

In a statement to The Hill, Smith, who resigned from the academy earlier this month, accepted the sentence imposed on him by the board, saying, “I accept and respect the decision of the Academy.”

–Updated at 4:54 PM

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