Anyone who watched the Oscars in February 2022 on TV will vividly remember the moment when actors and Oscar winners (for “King Richard’) Will Smith slapped the evening’s host Chris Rock (‘Children’s Heads’) in the face. Comedian Rock had made a joke about Smith’s wife Jada Pinkett Smith, which the actor didn’t find funny at all. The awards ceremony continued, but Smith’s attack was not forgotten.
But on the contrary. The Academy gave Smith a 10-year Oscar ban and numerous planned films, some of which have already been shot, in which the Hollywood star is involved, should have been postponed or even canceled due to the scandal.
For example, while the Netflix project “Fast & Loose” has been put on hold for the time being, the streaming service Apple+ has only postponed the historical thriller “Emancipation” by director Antoine Fuqua (“The Equalizer”). But now the thriller is coming faster than expected. Emancipation hits select theaters in the US on December 2, 2022, followed by Apple TV+ on December 9. And it is already rumored that Apple is releasing the film so quickly that it can compete at the Oscars in 2023…
But what about Smith’s Oscar ban? Theoretically, the scandal shouldn’t harm the film. Although Smith is not allowed to attend the awards ceremony, his acting performance can still be nominated and rewarded with an Oscar. However, it is not clear whether the jury will overlook the scandal. Hollywood reporters wants to have found out with a poll that not every Academy member would nominate Smith for an Oscar – no matter how good his performance is. Of course, the film would also have chances in categories other than Best Actor.
In “Emancipation” Peter (Will Smith) was able to free himself from his slavery and escape to the swamps of Louisiana. There he tries to survive and finally find freedom. The story takes place in the 19th century and the screenplay by William N. Collage (“Assassin’s Creed”) is based on true events.
At an initial screening of the film, which was attended by a select audience, the creators of Emancipation, and Smith himself, the lead actor explained that the project was very special to him. Noisy colliders after the screening he said that “Emancipation” was not a film about slavery: “It is a film about freedom”.