Actor and activist Sean Penn vowed on Saturday to publicly destroy his Oscars if the ceremony doesn’t give Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a platform to speak.
Zelensky was reportedly in talks with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to make a video appearance during Sunday’s broadcast of the Oscars New York Post reported Friday. However, awards co-host Amy Schumer said in an interview last week that her request to have Zelensky speak to the nation during the show was turned down by producers.
Penn, who is making a documentary about the Russian invasion of Ukraine and works to provide humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees in Poland and Romania, told CNN on Saturday he would be deeply disappointed if the academy denied the Ukrainian leader the opportunity to attend to speak. Penn has won two Academy Awards for Best Actor for the films mystical flow and Milk.
“There’s nothing more the Oscars could do than give him the opportunity to speak to all of us,” Penn said.
“It is my understanding that a decision has been made not to do this,” Penn added, while noting that he was unsure of Zelensky’s position on the matter. “If the academy chose not to do that, if the moderators chose not to go after the leadership in Ukraine intercepting bullets and bombs for us…then I think that every single one of those people and every part making this decision was the most obscene moment in all of Hollywood history.”
If that’s the case, Penn added, he would encourage everyone involved in the awards ceremony to protest and boycott the ceremony.
“Myself – if it matters – when I come back, I’ll smell mine publicly. I pray that didn’t happen,” he said. “I pray that there are no arrogant people who consider themselves representatives of the common good and have decided not to report themselves to the leadership in Ukraine.”
It is unclear whether Zelenskyj was invited to the award ceremony or expressed his interest. However, this year’s show, which will take place on Sunday March 27, is expected to be full of mentions of the ongoing war.
Ukrainian-born actress Mila Kunis, who along with her husband Ashton Kutcher helped raise $35 million for Ukrainian refugees, will reportedly make a statement during the ceremony. The post reported.
Schumer, who will host the ceremony alongside Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall, also said last week that she will be keeping an eye on current affairs since there are “so many eyes and ears” on the show.
Meanwhile, the show’s executive producer Will Packer told reporters Thursday that the ceremony will “respectfully acknowledge” the conflict.
“This is really a [momentous] time in human history, and we’re very aware of that,” Packer said, according to CNN, finding a way to respectfully acknowledge where we are and how fortunate we are to be able to put this show together in the first place.”
news week contacted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for additional comment.
https://www.newsweek.com/sean-penn-vows-smelt-oscar-if-zelensky-cant-speak-academy-awards-1692195 Sean Penn vows to ‘melt’ Oscar if Zelenskyy fails to speak at Oscars