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What Will Smith’s Academy resignation means for his future at the Oscars

Will actor get to keep his Oscar, be nominated again or attend future ceremonies?

Jacob Stolworthy
Monday 04 April 2022 08:08 BST
Will Smith breaks down in tears during Oscars acceptance speech
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Will Smith has resigned from the Academy after slapping Chris Rock at the Oscars – but what does that mean for the actor?

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) is the organisation that sets the nominations and ultimately decides the winners at the Oscars each year.

There are approximately 10,000 members, all of whom are expected to “advance the arts and sciences of motion pictures”.

Five days after the incident at the 2022 Oscars that saw Smith walk onto the stage and slap Rock, after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith, he has announced he will resign as a member.

This followed many reports that the actor faced disciplinary action by the Academy.

But, what does this now mean for Smith?

Firstly, Smith will get to keep his Best Actor Oscar, which he won for King Richard in the aftermath of hitting Rock. He apologised to the Academy during a tearful acceptance speech.

The resignation also won’t keep Smith from attending future Oscar ceremonies, meaning that the actor could return in 2023 to present Best Actress. Traditionally, the previous year’s acting winners all return to announce who will replace them as the latest recipients of the top awards.

Should Smith deliver another performance that Academy members believe is worthy of Oscar contention, they will still be able to nominate him, meaning Smith can win more Oscars.

All the resignation means for Smith is that he will have no say in what films can be nominated or will go onto win in the future. However, Academy president David Rubin said: “We will continue to move forward with our disciplinary proceedings against Mr Smith for violations of the Academy’s Standards of Conduct, in advance of our next scheduled board meeting on April 18.”

Will Smith has resigned from the Academy after hitting Chris Rock at the Oscars (Getty Images)

In a statement, Smith called his actions “shocking, painful and inexcusable” and said he will accept any “further consequences” the Academy may still decide on.

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Read the actor’s resignation letter in full here.

Smith’s motive for hitting Rock was due to the belief that the comedian, who referred to Pinkett Smith as “GI Jane” because of her shaved head, was making fun of her alopecia diagnosis.

While Rock has said he is “still processing what happened” at the ceremony, a source close to the comedian said “he had no idea” Pinkett Smith had alopecia.

On Friday (1 April), Denzel Washington spoke about the incident, explaining why he believes Smith felt compelled to hit Rock in the moment.

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