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It’s decision day.
Today, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences board must decide whether it will confiscate Will Smith’s best actor award after he slapped Chris Rock during the Oscars ceremony a couple weeks ago.
According to The Sun, “the members — of which there are over 9,000, with hundreds of WhatsApp groups flying about — are completely split.”
The board had originally planned to meet on April 18 but decided to move up the hearing after Smith resigned — symbolically — from the academy.
“The decision was made earlier this week to expedite the hearing in the wake of Will’s resignation,” The Sun adds. “And during that call, it was clear that the decision would go to the wire.”
Smith won Best Actor for his role in King Richard, beating out Benedict Cumberbatch (The Power of the Dog), Andrew Garfield (Tick… Tick… Boom), Denzel Washington (The Tragedy of Macbeth) and Javier Bardem (Being the Ricardos).
I predict that the academy will not take Smith’s award away from him. Allies in media have already sent warnings to Hollywood that if they dare hold Smith accountable, Tiffany Cross and Jemele Hill will call the entire industry racist.
As we argued, Smith is too privileged for cancel culture. In sum,
“The Slap” has become a racial issue. TV hosts and entertainment writers are already alleging that it’s racist for white people to comment on or react to the incident.
See, if the film industry rejects Smith, dutiful writers and anchors will shout that white people are punishing Smith for a black stereotype. That’s the threat and writers and directors will not risk Twitter users calling them racist.
Cancel culture is not evenly distributed. It’s not about the action itself but who commits the action. That applies to racist comments (see Bomani Jones), homophobic blog posts (see Joy Reid) and now assault (see Will Smith).
Moreover, revoking an Oscar is almost unprecedented. To date, the Academy has confiscated only one Oscar and it was based on a technicality. The board took away the 1969 Best Documentary award from Young Americans after discovering the film debuted in 1967, thus ruling it ineligible.
Check back for an update on the official decision on “The Slap.”