Sean Penn gave the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences an ultimatum Saturday regarding Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky ahead of the Oscars. Penn, who took home Best Actor Academy Awards for Mystic River and Milk, told CNN’s Jim Acosta that the Oscars must have Zelensky on the program — otherwise, viewers and guests should boycott the ceremony.
The Oscars: How To Watch Online & On TV
“If it turns out to be what is happening, I would encourage everyone involved, though it may be their moment, and I understand that, to celebrate their films, it is so much more importantly their moment to shine, and to protest and to boycott that Academy Awards,” Penn said. “I myself, if it comes back to it, when I return, I will smelt mine in public. I pray that’s not what happens. I pray there have not been arrogant people who consider themselves representatives of the greater good who have decided not to check in with leadership in Ukraine. So I’m going to hope that’s not what happened, and I hope everyone walks out if it is.”
The Long Road To Oscar 2022: The Journey Of Each Best Picture Nominee
The actor is shooting a documentary for Vice about the Ukrainian-Russian conflict, and he met with Zelensky this week. According to the Daily Mail, Penn also attended a government press briefing today as the country rallied itself against the attack. Zelensky previously posted a video on Instagram of the two together and wrote in a caption: “The more people know about the war in the Ukraine, the higher the likelihood of stopping Russia!” Penn is now in Warsaw for safety reasons.
ICYMI: Actor Sean Penn says the Oscars should be boycotted if the ceremony’s planners have decided against having Zelensky on the program. pic.twitter.com/4LI2YIiKcD
— Jim Acosta (@Acosta) March 26, 2022
Oscar Best Picture Nominees: The Deadline Reviews
On March 25, The New York Post claimed that President Zelensky is in talks to appear at the Oscars, but nothing has been confirmed. Other celebrities have rallied for his appearance on the show including Oscar co-host Amy Schumer, who mentioned the idea on The Drew Barrymore Show.
“I wanted to find a way to have Zelensky satellite in or make a tape or something, just because there are so many eyes on the Oscars,” Schumer said. “I think it’s a great opportunity to at least comment on a couple of things. I have some jokes that kind of highlight the sort of current condition.”
Oscar Nominations: ‘The Power Of The Dog’, ‘Dune’ Top List; ‘Drive My Car’ Among Big Surprises
Must Read Stories
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.