Oscars 2022: Sean Penn calls for boycott and promises to ‘smelt’ his awards if Zelensky not allowed to speak

Actor said he would ‘smelt’ his statues ‘in public’ if Ukrainian president has not been allowed to appear

Isobel Lewis
Sunday 27 March 2022 15:33 BST
Regime change in Russia ‘up to the Russian people’, says UK minister
Leer en Español

Sean Penn has vowed to “smelt” his Oscar if it turns out the Academy chose not to include Volodymyr Zelensky in the 2022 Oscars.

Last week, Oscars host Amy Schumer claimed that her request to have the Ukrainian president address the star-studded gathering was rejected.

Appearing on CNN on Saturday (26 March), Penn said that the Academy had an obligation to allow Zelensky to speak amid the invasion of Ukraine by Russia.

“There is nothing greater that the Academy Awards could do than to give him an opportunity to talk to all of us,” the actor said.

LIVE UPDATES: Follow all the action across the night on our blog

“It is my understanding that a decision has been made not to do it… If the [Academy has] elected not to pursue the leadership in Ukraine, who are taking bullets and bombs for us, along with the Ukrainian children that they are trying to protect, then I think every single one of those people and every bit of that decision will have been the most obscene moment in all of Hollywood history.”

If it did turn out that the Academy had not invited Zelenskyy to speak, Penn said that his fellow filmmakers should boycott the ceremony.

“If it comes back to it, I will smelt mine in public,” Penn said. “I pray that’s not what’s happened.

“I pray there have not been arrogant people, who consider themselves representatives of the greater good in my industry, that have [decided against checking] with leadership in Ukraine. So I’m just going to hope that that’s not what’s happened. I hope [everyone] walks out if it is.”

The Independent has contacted the Academy for comment.

Last month, Penn was seen at a press briefing at the Presidential Office in Kyiv, where he was filming a documentary.

Before he was the president of Ukraine, Zelensky worked as an actor and comedian, playing a schoolteacher who became the president of Ukraine in the satirical series Servant of the People.

He also voiced the character of Paddington Bear in the Ukrainian version of Paddington.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in