Justice League actor, Harry Lennix, says that Will Smith must return his Oscar in order to restore honor to the prestigious Best Actor award.
Zack Snyder’s Justice League actor, Harry Lennix, believes that Will Smith should return his Oscar to restore the award’s honor. The 94th Academy Awards were held on March 27; however, all discussions of 2021’s films virtually dissolved after the Smith incident. During the show, the Oscars host, Chris Rock, cracked a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, calling her “G.I. Jane” in reference to her close-cropped haircut. The joke didn’t go over well, as Jada has been open about her struggle with alopecia. Hence, Smith walked up to Rock and slapped him in the face, live on TV, before returning to his seat.
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The moment shocked everyone, as viewers quickly registered the moment was not scripted. What has followed has been an intense discussion about conduct and intolerance for assault. Many were quick to react with disdain to Smith’s actions, and it was revealed that the police were ready to arrest Smith that night for his assault. As a result, Smith resigned from the Academy and was also given a 10-year ban from the Oscars. However, many feel it is still not enough, as he has been allowed to keep the Oscar he won for Best Actor, just moments after slapping Rock.
Related: What Will Smith Resigning From The Academy Actually Means
Lennix, in an article penned for Variety, said that Smith must return his Oscar to restore the award’s honor. Lennix slammed Smith for committing assault in front of millions of people, as well as the Academy for giving him an award an hour later and not ejecting him from the ceremony. Furthermore, he called Smith’s ban a mere “time-out” and suggested the only solution is for Smith to return his Oscar with an apology and acknowledgment that he is undeserving of the “94 years of honor conferred upon” the award. Check out his statement below:
At this point, the only person who can redeem the integrity of the Oscars is Smith himself. He needs to come to grips with the gravity of the offense he committed: slapping Rock, live on March 27 in front of millions on the Academy Awards stage. Smith needs to express-mail his golden trophy back to the Academy and publicly state something to the effect of: “Out of respect for the 94 years of honor conferred upon this award, I do not in good conscience feel worthy of being its custodian.” Smith’s brutality stripped the entire evening of its prestige. That was proven when stunned Oscar attendees gave a standing ovation to someone who’d just committed an assault in front of their eyes… The stain on the Motion Picture Academy cannot be easily remediated. The only hope for a justifiable grace must involve Smith voluntarily returning his award for best actor.
In addition to this, Lennix also found fault in Smith’s acceptance speech for his Best Actor award, which he won for portraying Richard Williams in King Richard. During the speech, Smith tearfully apologized for his actions. However, Smith also mentioned how Williams was a defender of his family and how he was just doing what he felt “God” had called him to do in that moment. Lennix saw this as Smith abdicating himself of responsibility by insinuating that a higher power influenced him rather than admitting to his wholly human error. Lennix believes that Smith’s actions have tainted the honor and prestige of the Oscars and the only way to remedy it is for Smith to return his award. However, this must be done voluntarily by Smith for the sake of honor.
Lennix’s article doesn’t mince words, and it is the fiery and blunt response that one may take to heart. While many celebrities have reacted to Smith’s actions with shock or have expressed sympathy and support for Rock, not many of them have so clearly articulated the problem and the necessary solution. While Smith’s performance in King Richard was clearly deserving of the Best Actor award, it was still simply not right for him to claim such a prestigious honor just moments after committing assault. Even though he has genuinely apologized and received a stiff punishment, this is a matter of honor. As the Justice League actor suggested, the Best Actor award carries 94 years of honor with it and both one’s acting and one’s true character need to be worthy of such honor.
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About The Author
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Rachel Ulatowski is a Freelance Movie/TV News Writer for Screen Rant. She works to bring readers the latest news on the shows and movies that are important to them. Rachel especially enjoys writing about celebrity news and sharing the thoughts, struggles, and perspective of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. In her free time she enjoys reading, writing, and watching anything Marvel, DC, Doctor Who, or Star Wars.
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