What comes next for Will Smith after the Oscars slap: Hollywood’s big mystery

Recently, he documented his weight loss on a YouTube show, “The best shape of my life“He has appeared on his wife Jada Pinkett Smith’s Facebook show”Red Table Talk“to discuss that their marriage briefly collapses. He tested his personal strength in nature adventures around the world in the streaming series”Welcome to earth“for Walt Disney Co. And last November, he revealed deep secrets in”Comes“, a memoir that has spent several months on bestseller lists.

“What you have come to understand as ‘Will Smith’, the alien wiping out MC, the bigger than life movie star, is largely a construction – a carefully crafted and honed character – designed to protect myself,” he writes in the book .

Still, Mr. Smith, long one of Hollywood’s biggest and most bankable stars, rarely seemed really off-script. That is, until Sunday night, when the 53-year-old actor went on stage during the Oscars and beat comedian Chris Rock for joking about his wife. About an hour later, he won the Oscar for Best Actor for his role in “King Richard“, gave a tearful speech apologizing to the academy and other nominees, saying,” In this industry, you have to be able to have people who do not respect you and you have to smile and you have to pretend it’s OK. “

What Hollywood, academia and viewers ultimately do that night will have little effect on the careers of one of the planet’s most likeable stars.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said on Wednesday that it was initiating disciplinary proceedings against Smith for violating its standard of conduct, “including inappropriate physical contact, abusive or threatening behavior and endangering the academy’s integrity.” receive at least 15 days notice of a vote regarding his violations, and he will be able to provide a written response. Discipline may include suspension, expulsion or other sanctions, the academy said. The Board will meet again on 18 April. The Academy also clarified that Mr. Smith was asked to leave the ceremony and he refused, adding “we also realize we could have handled the situation differently.”

Mr. On Monday night, Smith apologized to Mr. Rock, the academy and viewers of the show in an Instagram post, calling his behavior “unacceptable and unforgivable.”

“I’m embarrassed and my actions were not indicative of the man I want to be,” he said.

How the night will affect Mr Smith’s career is still unclear. Hollywood has talked about little else since then, but few industrial powers will say anything publicly as they wait for news of the academy’s next move. Since the ceremony, some stars have said that they thought the actor’s actions were disruptive.

“Waiting for this sick feeling to disappear from what we have all witnessed,” Oscar co-host Amy Schumer said in an Instagram post on Tuesday night. Her co-host Wanda Sykes said in an interview with Ellen DeGeneres that she “was still a little traumatized.”

A representative of Mr. Smith said the actor did not comment further. A representative of Mr. Rock did not respond to a request for comment.

Three out of five Americans think that Mr Smith’s actions at the Oscars were wrong, according to a survey of 1,319 people conducted on Monday by the research company YouGov.

Mr. Smith is one of the few actors in contemporary Hollywood who can largely control his own destiny by putting green projects on star power alone, and often come on board as a producer.

He has several high-profile projects under development, most notably an Apple Inc. movie called “Emancipation” which is scheduled to be released later this year which may put Mr. Smith back on the price circuit in months.

Apple has not made any changes to its plan for a release by the end of 2022, according to a person familiar with the matter.

The production of “Emancipation” reflects Mr Smith’s characteristic star power. When he agreed to star in the film 2020, the project became one of the liveliest titles in a virtual market held by the Cannes Film Festival. Mr. Smith stars in the film’s true story of an escaped slave who fled to the north and helped trigger anti-slavery campaigns when pictures of his fringed back were published.

Bidders came in to get the chance to work on the film. It ended with Apple coming on board to produce the film for more than $ 100 million, according to a person familiar with the matter.

Apple bought the project with plans to release it in cinemas and on its AppleTV + streaming service, a rollout similar to its 2021 release of “CODA”, which won best picture on Sunday about an hour after Mr. Smith’s bang.

Mr. Smith began his career by breaking his personal story, as a rapper growing up in Philadelphia and starring in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” a comedy series that was recently remade as a drama. His film career reached stratospheric heights with “Independence Day,” the 1996 blockbuster film in which he played a pilot averting a global alien invasion.

The film was the highest-grossing release that year – it grossed $ 553 million in the U.S. when gross revenues are adjusted for inflation – and created a template for the studio-driven “event film,” complete with Super Bowl ads, Time Magazine covers and tie-in toys. . Soon, Mr. Smith the weekend of July 4, when “Men in Black” followed in 1997.

Mr. Smith began producing some of his own projects in the early 2000s, and in 2019 he founded Westbrook, a media company that focused on the entire family’s entertainment pursuits. In January, private equity-backed Candle Media paid $ 60 million for more than 10% of Westbrook Inc., continuing a series of Wall Street investments in celebrity-oriented media ventures.

The formation of Westbrook illustrated how Mr. Smith’s celebrity is increasingly a package deal: his wife, Ms. Pinkett Smith, and their two children, Jaden and Willow. Soon, the interpersonal relationships between the four were fodder for programming.

Mr. Smith and his family have recently embraced the same type of confessional entertainment that helped deliver celebrity families like the Kardashians. Mr Smith’s children with Ms Pinkett Smith, as well as Trey, a child from a previous relationship, have all played themselves on TV.

In July 2020, Mr. Smith up on his wife’s talk show to discuss rumors of infidelity in the relationship. The incident concerned a separation that the couple went through about four years earlier.

“I was done with you,” said Mr Smith. “Marriage has it, though.”

During that separation, Pinkett Smith said she ended up in “another kind of entanglement” with another man. The couple’s 13-minute conversation is heavy on the therapy language, including details about Pinkett Smith’s co-dependence and childhood trauma.

In his book, Mr. Smith to earlier plans for his family’s “world domination.” But in “Best Shape of My Life” he expresses concern about the constant spotlight.

“It’s too much,” he says. “I just think it’s not people’s thing.”

—John Jurgensen contributed to this article.

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