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Will Smith has been open about his long-term goal of winning an Oscar. And the actor’s past roles in films such as Ali, The Pursuit of Happyness, and Concussion nearly got him there. He received Oscar nominations for the first two of those movies and even a Golden Globe nod for the last one. But after Smith’s actions at the 2022 Academy Awards — where he did finally win the Academy Award for Best Actor — he might never get another nod again.

Will Smith slaps Chris Rock onstage at the Oscars
Will Smith slaps Chris Rock | ROBYN BECK/AFP

Will Smith just won his first Oscar for ‘King Richard’

All awards season, Smith’s name remained a constant presence. The actor was nominated against past Oscar winners Denzel Washington and Javier Bardem and fellow past nominees Andrew Garfield and Benedict Cumberbatch, who also hoped to get their first Oscar wins. Garfield, Cumberbatch, and Smith all earned strong buzz for their work.

But in the end, Smith triumphed for his role in King Richard. The role combined the sports drama of Ali with the committed father of The Pursuit of Happyness. And that combination proved irresistible to Oscar voters, who saw fit to award Smith this year’s trophy. However, the question remains whether Smith will even be able to return for a subsequent nod.

His actions at the 2022 ceremony might cost him big

Smith’s slap of presenter Chris Rock shocked audiences watching at home as well as Hollywood itself. The actor has since apologized and resigned from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences. As a result, he’s no longer a voting member of the organization. According to the academy’s website, its members decide Oscar nominees and vote on the winners. But that doesn’t mean Smith is off-limits from the ceremony entirely.

That call has yet to be made by the academy’s board. Reportedly, his eligibility to be nominated for another Oscar — and therefore attend the 2023 ceremony — depends greatly on what the academy decides to do next. Although the academy has updated its code of conduct in recent years, this aspect remains unclear in Smith’s case. But fans should stay tuned to see what additional consequences are awaiting Smith for how he behaved on stage.

Is Will Smith’s ‘Emancipation’ an Oscars contender?

Of course, even if Smith is allowed consideration, that doesn’t mean he will land another Oscar nomination anytime soon. The actor often appears in blockbuster films that fall far outside the range of movies the academy would seriously consider recognizing. But Smith’s next movie could truly be a contender. In Emancipation, Smith plays an escaped slave whose photos of his scars famously exposed the cruelty of American slavery.

Naturally, director Antoine Fuqua’s film is based on a true story. Fuqua directed Denzel Washington to his second Oscar win for Training Day. And speaking of Washington, the actor won his first trophy for 1989’s Glory, in which he too played a slave. So only time will tell if Smith is able to get awards buzz for his role and if the academy will have him back if he does. Emancipation is due for release sometime in 2022.


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