(NewsNation) — A decision from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences about disciplinary action against Will Smith is not expected for weeks, but it is already clear that what happened will have an impact on the rest of his career.
After his performance in “King Richard,” a movie about tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams’ father, Smith’s next role is as a runaway slave in “Emancipation,” an Apple TV+ original film that’s now in post-production.
But after he slapped comedian Chris Rock at the Oscars, before winning best actor for “King Richard,” Clayton Davis, senior awards editor at Variety, said that’s all anyone will be talking about.
“To be the first film out the gate starring Will Smith, none of the press, none of the questions will surround the film itself,” he said. “And that’s a disservice to the filmmakers.”
Davis suspects Apple may hold off on releasing the “Emancipation” as scheduled. Regardless of what happens to the movie, though, Smith’s future will forever be linked to this.
Smith hit Rock after the comedian made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who has alopecia, saying, “Jada, I love you. ‘G.I. Jane 2,’ can’t wait to see it, all right?”
That is a reference to the 1997 film “G.I. Jane,” featuring Demi Moore, who shaved her head to portray a fictional Navy SEAL candidate.
Public opinion over the incident has been divided, with some saying Rock went too far with his joke and others angry over what they see as an assault by Smith.
While the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences said Sunday that Smith was asked to leave Sunday’s Oscars after the infamous slap, his camp disputes it. TMZ reported Thursday that there was some split among Academy officials, with some wanting to give Smith the boot while others did not.
Davis said according to multiple sources, and one eyewitness that heard it, producer Will Packer actually told Smith to stay.
“I think that now sends a completely different message,” Davis said. “It paints Will Smith in a completely different light and if that’s not true, then it really becomes tarnish on the Academy’s part.”