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Before Will Smith these celebrities were banned from the Oscars – find out why

The Academy has banned a number of stars over the years

celebs banned from oscars
Megan Bull
TV Writer
March 3, 2023
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Following the infamous Oscars slap, Will Smith received a ten-year ban from the Academy Awards – a rare penalty that only a handful of stars have ever been dealt. So who else has been barred from the prestigious ceremony? We're taking a trip down memory lane and looking into the most controversial bans in Oscars history. Plus, click the video below to see the moment that got Will Smith expelled…

WATCH: Will Smith slaps Chris Rock at the Oscars

Why has Will Smith been banned from the Oscars?

In a headline-hitting moment, Will Smith was banned from the Oscars after he took to the stage and slapped host Chris Rock, following the comedian's joke about his wife Jada Pinkett-Smith's hair loss. The actress was diagnosed with alopecia in 2018.

Shortly after the shocking incident, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued a statement which read: "The 94th Oscars were meant to be a celebration of the many individuals in our community who did incredible work this past year; however, those moments were overshadowed by the unacceptable and harmful behavior we saw Mr. Smith exhibit on stage." 

Revealing that the actor had been issued with a decade-long ban, it continued: "The Board has decided, for a period of 10 years from April 8, 2022, Mr. Smith shall not be permitted to attend any Academy events or programs, in person or virtually, including but not limited to the Academy Awards." Prior to his ban, the King Richard star had issued a public apology to his fans and the Academy, as well as Chris Rock.

Who else has been banned from the Oscars? Why were they banned?

Richard Gere

To the surprise of fans, Richard Gere was actually expelled from the Oscars for 20 years after he used his presenting role at the 1993 awards show to denounce the Chinese government's occupation of Tibet. After veering off-script, the Pretty Woman star protested the "horrendous, horrendous human rights situation," which resulted in a ban from the Academy. 

richard gere oscars© Photo: Getty Images

Richard Gere received a 20-year ban in 1993

Although the ban is officially over, Richard was underwhelmed at the news that he could return to the 2013 Oscars. Speaking to HuffPost UK, he said: "Apparently, I've been rehabilitated. It seems if you stay around long enough, they forget they've banned you."

Carmine Caridi

Known for his roles in The Godfather Part II and The Godfather Part III, it was in 2004 that Carmine Caridi became the first person to be banned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The expulsion occurred after the actor was accused of illegally circulating VHS screeners of upcoming movies to a friend, which later surfaced online. 

carmine caridi© Photo: Getty Images

Carmine Caridi was expelled from the Oscars for violating his agreement to safeguard screeners

In a case which was thoroughly investigated by the FBI, Carmen was issued with a lawsuit by Sony and Time Warner on civil charges of copyright infringement,  but was ultimately cleared of wrongdoing. Nonetheless, the ban remained in place as the actor had violated his agreement to safeguard their screeners. The Godfather actor later passed away in 2019. 

Bill Cosby

A month after Bill Cosby was convicted of sexual assault, the Academy issued a permanent ban in accordance with its standards of conduct. During an official statement, it was explained that "The Board continues to encourage ethical standards that require members to uphold the Academy's values of respect for human dignity."

bill cosby© Photo: Getty Images

Bill Cosby was banned from the Oscars following allegations of sexual assault 

Roman Polanski

The news of Roman Polanski's expulsion was announced alongside Bill Cosby's in 2018. At the time, the Academy had released a new code of conduct and decided to ban Roman for allegations of sexual assault which had occurred in 1977.

roman polanski© Photo: Getty Images

Roman Polanski was banned from the Oscars in 2018

Considered a meek gesture by film fans, Roman Polanski had actually continued his membership for years after the allegations had been made public and even won Best Director for The Pianist in 2003 – naturally, his ban was seen as too little too late.

MORE: Will Smith inspires creation of a 'crisis team' within the Academy as the Oscars near

Harvey Weinstein

The second person to be expelled from the Oscars, Harvey Weinstein was condemned by the Academy for behaving in a way that was "repugnant, abhorrent, and antithetical to the high standards of the academy and the creative community it represents."

harvey weinstein© Photo: Getty Images

Harvey Weinstein is permanently banned from the Oscars 

Immediately after multiple sexual harassment and rape allegations emerged against him, the Academy held an emergency session, where the vast majority voted to have Harvey expelled. He was eventually convicted in court and is now serving a 23-year sentence in a Californian maximum-security prison. 

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