Oscars organisers ‘decline Zelensky’s request to speak at 2023 ceremony’

Ukrainian president is said to have wanted to deliver an address at the film awards

Nicole Vassell
Friday 10 March 2023 09:47 GMT
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Organisers and executives at the Academy Awards have reportedly declined Volodymyr Zelensky’s request to speak at this year’s ceremony.

The 2023 Oscars are set to take place on Sunday 12 March.

Since Russia’s initial invasion of Ukraine last February, President Zelensky has given high-profile addresses at awards ceremonies including the 2022 Grammy Awards and the Golden Globes in January.

Most recently, Zelensky addressed the attendees of the Berlin Film Festival, where Sean Penn’s film about his leadership during the war, Superpower, was first screened.

However, reports today claim that the Ukrainian president was denied the opportunity to appear via telecast at Sunday’s Oscars.

According to sources speaking to Variety, WME agent Mike Simpson appealed to the Academy to include Zelensky in its much-anticipated broadcast, but was denied.

The report also states that this is the second year in a row that the president, who was formerly a comedic actor, had made an unsuccessful request to speak at the Oscars.

The Independent has contacted a representative at the Academy Awards for comment.

Zelensky has been embraced by many figures in entertainment and has been praised for his rousing leadership in times of adversity.

Zelensky (Getty Images)

On the first anniversary of the start of the Russia-Ukraine war, Star Wars actor Mark Hamill spoke out about his surprise when Zelensky’s team approached him to assist with the country’s battle efforts.

Hamill was asked to be the “ambassador to the army of the drones”, and is raising money for drones by auctioning exclusive signer posters featuring the fighter jet that Luke Skywalker used to destroy the Death Star in the 1977 film Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope.

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You can find a list of all the Oscars 2023 nominees here, information on how to watch the ceremony here, as well as all the latest updates here.

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