Janet Yang, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, said Will Smith is welcome to have an engraved nameplate added to his Best Actor Oscar statuette, despite being barred from Academy events in a decade after beating Chris Rock during last year’s ceremony.
Last month, Smith duetted a video on TikTok instructing viewers to pick up an object and ask it what it thinks about yourself. A woman in the first video claimed, “you will get an answer in your mind from your intuition.”
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Smith continued to hold his Academy Award statuette, which he won for his performance in King Richardwhich clearly shows that the award was not engraved.
Typically, Oscar winners attend the Governors Ball after the ceremony, where they will have their nameplate added to the trophy. But Smith never made it to the ball last year – after punching Rock on stage during the awards show – and has since been banned from attending Oscars and Academy events for the next 10 years.
During the latest episode of The Hollywood Reporter‘s Prices Chat podcast, Yang told THRScott Feinberg that she thinks Smith should have his name engraved on the Academy Award when asked what she would say if the actor reached for his name tag.
“He earned the Oscar,” she continued in the interview, published a day before the 95th Academy Awards. “He should have his name engraved on it. I don’t know if he will come in person. But yes, we can arrange that.”
Explaining what went through her mind while witnessing the actor’s smackdown by the comedian, Yang said, “We were really numb.”
“Like everyone else, in the beginning when Will walks on stage we’re like, ‘Oh, this is kind of funny. He’s going to pretend to hit him and then Chris is going to act stunned,'” she added. “And then it was like, ‘Okay, it’s over.’ And then he goes back to his seat and then he starts yelling – that’s when, of course, everyone was like, ‘Oh my God, this is real’.”
Yang said that before she and Academy CEO Bill Kramer came on board, Rock was apparently asked to host again and he declined. Rock spoke about the slapping incident last week during his new comedy special, Chris Rock: Selective outrage, which was streamed live on Netflix.
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