We enter week two of The Slap with the news that Will Smith has resigned his membership from the Academy. Facing a potential suspension that could be a decade or more, Smith decided to just resign and not wait for the Academy’s decision regarding discipline on April 18. They might still announce further sanctions, but Smith has effectively taken the wind out of their sails. Again, since revoking his Oscar win isn’t really on the table, suspending him was their big move, and now it’s moot. At this point, I bet they announce he is also banned from Academy-sponsored events for some period of time, and he’ll probably make a donation to their museum that’s massively in debt, but the “damage”, as it were, is done.
At this point, with Smith having resigned, the Academy should honestly just let it go. Further action coming almost a month after the event just looks punitive, and The Discourse is exhausting and exhausted. Just announce on April 18 that Smith is not invited to the 2023 Oscars, as he customarily would be, and end it. The Academy looks shambolic and disoriented and lacking in meaningful leadership, dragging this on makes them, not Will Smith, look worse.
They’re the ones that utterly failed to provide any sense of leadership or control on Oscars night, and they just got upstaged in every possible way by the Grammys. The awards show typically known as the messy cousin got their sh-t together—except for the part where they gave Louis CK a trophy—and put on an entertaining show full of exhilarating spectacle AND they got President Zelensky on the phone, which now calls into question why the Academy couldn’t pull together a more meaningful tribute to Ukraine. The Academy looks weak, disorganized, and afraid to take a stand on even the most obvious of humanitarian issues. This isn’t new, they’ve been panicked and reactive ever since the Weinstein scandal broke, but this last week has been the nadir for the Academy, for sure.
AND YET, no one is holding their feet to fire over their sh-t response on Sunday night, and no one is talking about substantive changes that need to be made to the Academy. The conversation continues to be about various ways to punish Smith, which range from sensible, like not inviting him to next year’s Oscars, to weirdly intense imaginings of vindictive retribution, like all the (pearl-clutching white) people who STILL want Smith to be arrested despite no one pressing charges.
We are also now in the second phase of Slap reporting, which is the “eyes on Will Smith’s next projects” phase. Reportedly, Netflix is “backing away” from a Smith-led project Fast and Loose. Director David Leitch exited the project the week before the Oscars, but now Netflix is “quietly mov[ing] the project to the back burner”. It’s not very quiet if it’s in freaking THR, is it? It’s actually not enough to ice the project, someone gave the exclusive to THR so that everyone would KNOW Netflix iced the project. In related news, there has been no word on Emancipation, Smith’s next film slated for later this year by Apple. Eventually, we will probably know more about this film’s fate, but in the immediate aftermath of The Slap, Apple’s film division is keeping their collective mouth shut. They join Daniel Radcliffe as the only people to exercise their right to just say f-cking nothing.