The 2022 Oscars were historic for several reasons. CODA took home the Oscar for Best Picture, the first streaming exclusive (aired on Apple TV+ exclusively) to take home the prestigious award. Ariana DeBose took home the first award for an openly queer woman of color. Unfortunately, most of that got overshadowed.
Even Will Smith's Best Actor award, the first in his long and illustrious career, was overshadowed by his unfortunate actions. It was a historic and memorable Oscars, but for all the wrong reasons.
After much deliberation, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has made its decision regarding Smith's conduct.
The Academy bans Will Smith from the Oscars for ten years
There was a lot of speculation about how the Academy would handle this incident, as it was unprecedented. Some called it the darkest moment in Oscars history, though critics said that was too harsh of a label.
Despite apologizing for hitting comedian Chris Rock, the Academy has decided to ban Will Smith from attending the Oscars for ten years.
Academy President David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said in a statement:
"The Board has decided, for a period of 10 years from April 8, 2022, Mr. Smith shall not be permitted to attend any Academy events or programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards."
Smith responded with a simple statement of his own, simply saying he accepted and respected their decision. This decision from the Academy seems to end one of the strangest sagas in recent film history.
First, Smith slapped Rock for making a joke at his wife's expense, which shocked the world. He followed that up by accepting the Best Actor award and apologizing (without mentioning Chris Rock) in his speech.
Rock responded by saying he wasn't really ready to talk about what had happened at the show but did stop a heckler who was hurling insults directed at Smith.
Will Smith followed that up by stepping down and terminating his membership with the Academy while they deliberated. The Academy's decision marks a likely end to the weeks-long controversy.