February 25, 2024

Jason Merritt/Getty Will Smith
Amid the release of the new trailer for Will Smith‘s first movie since his Oscars controversy, Emancipation, many are curious about whether he would be eligible for an Academy Award.
Smith won Best Actor earlier this year at the 94th Oscars earlier this year shortly after a stunning moment in which he slapped Chris Rock on live television onstage. Smith subsequently gave an emotional acceptance speech, though he did not apologize specifically to Rock at that time.
In the weeks following the show, Smith resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and was eventually banned from attending Academy events for a decade. He has since apologized multiple times for his actions, including to Rock.
In the new drama, Smith portrays Peter, a man who escapes slavery and sets out on a quest for freedom while evading hunters in swamps of Louisiana.
“Although Will Smith resigned from the Academy and has been banned from attending the Oscar ceremony for the next 10 years, he is still technically eligible to be nominated and even win another award,” Entertainment Weekly Awards Correspondent Dave Karger tells PEOPLE.
Karger says that with Emancipation‘s current release plan, which is includes a theatrical run on Dec. 2, 2022, and a release on Apple TV+ a week later, Smith, 54, “could feasibly be a nominee again” at 2023’s Oscars ceremony.
“But he wouldn’t be able to accept the award in person if he were to win,” Karger notes.
Never miss a story — sign up for PEOPLE’s free daily newsletter to stay up-to-date on the best of what PEOPLE has to offer, from juicy celebrity news to compelling human-interest stories.
Apple TV+ Poster for Emancipation (2022)
RELATED: Will Smith’s First Movie Post-Chris Rock Slap Screens and Earns Praise: “A Story of Adversity”
An official synopsis for Emancipation says the film “tells the triumphant story of Peter (Smith), a man who escapes from slavery, relying on his wits, unwavering faith and deep love for his family to evade cold-blooded hunters and the unforgiving swamps of Louisiana on his quest for freedom.”
“The film is inspired by the 1863 photos of ‘Whipped Peter,’ taken during a Union Army medical examination, that first appeared in Harper’s Weekly,” the synopsis adds. “One image, known as ‘The Scourged Back,’ which shows Peter’s bare back mutilated by a whipping delivered by his enslavers, ultimately contributed to growing public opposition to slavery.”
Smith spoke about taking on his first acting role as a slave over the weekend, following an advance screening of Emancipation hosted together with the NAACP during the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 51st Annual Legislative Conference in Washington, D.C.
“Throughout my career, I’ve turned down many films that were set in slavery,” Smith said, per The Hollywood Reporter. “I never wanted to show us like that. And then this picture came along. And this is not a film about slavery. This is a film about freedom. This is a film about resilience. This is a film about faith. This is a film about the heart of a man — what could be called the first viral image. Cameras had just been created, and the image of whipped Peter went around the world.”
Smith then called the photo a “rallying cry against slavery,” and one that inspired a film that he says he wanted to be part of in “a way that only Antoine Fuqua could deliver.” Fuqua has directed award-winning movies over the course of his career, including Training Day and The Equalizer.
Viewers at the screening shared their praise for the film on Twitter, with NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson writing in part, “It’s a story of adversity, of resilience, of love, and of triumph. Thank you Antoine Fuqua and Will Smith for sharing your gifts!”
Tonya J. Williams called the movie a “powerful & gut-wrenching depiction of the horrors of slavery in America” on Twitter, commending Smith on his performance.
“[Smith] who masterfully played the role Peter, spoke about how he (and we) hold space in this world using Peter’s life as the example,” Williams wrote. “Release this film!”
Smith has kept a relatively low profile since the Oscars in March, when he slapped Rock, 57, over a joke the comedian made about his wife Jada Pinkett Smith — who lives with alopecia — and her shaved head.
After apologizing to Rock in a statement posted on social media the day after the ceremony, Smith did so again in a video he shared to YouTubeInstagram and Facebook, telling Rock, “I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
“I’ve reached out to Chris and the message that came back is that he’s not ready to talk, and when he is he will reach out,” Will said. “So I will say to you, Chris, I apologize to you. My behavior was unacceptable, and I’m here whenever you’re ready to talk.”
Rep. Paul Gosar is once again defending one America's most prominent white nationalist, sexist lowlifes.
In a year where we're still waiting to see plenty of other Best Picture contenders, Apple's late addition has time to breakthrough.
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) told The New York Times the country has seen an “erosion of any boundaries” that now enables political violence. “I wouldn’t be surprised if a senator or House member were killed,” Collins told the newspaper. “What started with abusive phone calls is now translating into active threats of violence and real…
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Kyler Murray can't explain why the Arizona Cardinals continue to start games slowly. Murray threw for 207 yards and two touchdowns and added another score on the ground as the Cardinals overcame another lackluster first half, rallying with 16 fourth-quarter points to beat the Carolina Panthers 26-16. Arizona (2-2) has been outscored 66-16 in the first half this season.
If that revenue source shrinks at a time when more seniors start filing benefit claims, the program is apt to rapidly use up its cash reserves, known as its trust funds. Meanwhile, Social Security's trust funds are expected to run dry in 2035, as per the program's latest Trustees Report. Once that happens, benefit cuts will be on the table.
Moonlighting fans — get your walk by night, fly by day shoes on. Glenn Gordon Caron, who created the iconic ’80s dramedy starring Cybill Shepherd and Bruce Willis, teased on Twitter that a “big announcement” about the Emmy-winning series will arrive on Wednesday, adding, “Disney and I have put our heads together and come up […]
UFC and Bellator both ran shows on Saturday, but which organization had the better night?
U.S. stocks finish higher and bounce back from a brutal September performance that sent major indexes to levels last seen in 2020.
Less than a year after Will Smith shocked millions around the world by slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars, his new film "Emancipation" will be released this December, Apple said Monday.
Abortion and economic relief among top issues in Illinois governor's bid for reelection.
Podcast series follows the case of Kevin Keith, a man convicted of triple homicide despite no physical evidence
The school at which I teach has become a school of choice, an alternative to inferior and sometimes perilous inner-city neighborhood high schools.
The news was announced by The Academy on Sunday
Kesha's mom Pebe Sebert explained why the singer's 2010 song "Cannibal" mentions Jeffrey Dahmer's name. The song lyric came under fire after renewed interest in Dahmer's murders.
Nearly three months after Jennifer Lopez married Ben Affleck, her ex Alex Rodriguez shared his hope for the singer and her family. Keep scrolling for the Yankees alum's out-of-the-park response.
ESPN's Kirk Herbstreit recognized Oregon quarterback Bo Nix as a top performer for Week 5 of the college football campaign.
The Antoine Fuqua-directed historical drama will be Smith's first project to hit theaters since he slapped Chris Rock at the Oscars.
Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell brought some royal magic to Kate Hudson's daughter Rani Rose's Cinderella-themed fourth birthday party. See the cute snap.
When Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James will take over as basketballs scoring leader and the method in which he will score the record-setting points are storylines NBA fans can bet on ahead of the 2022-23 NBA season.
Nearly half of likely voters in Florida support sending illegal migrants from the southern border to "sanctuary" cities.


About Author

Leave a Reply