|Actor Will Smith and wife, actress Jada Pinkett-Smith, both boycotted the 75th Oscar ceremony Sunday, March 23, because of the U.S. invasion into Iraq. Smith's spokesperson says the actor felt it was inappropriate for him to be at the ceremony, adding that he would have felt uneasy appearing at the event.
Smith was scheduled to be one of the presenters at the annual ceremonies but instead left the Academy looking for a replacement, as did Cate Blanchett who, like Smith, was not be there as a presenter as originally scheduled.
Others who passed up the $4,600 free goody-bag of gifts for Academy celebrities included Peter Jackson, director of "Lord of the Rings," Angelina Jolie, and Aki Kaurismaki, the Finnish director of "The Man Without a Past," which was nominated as best foreign language film.
While the press was told that several actors would be wearing pins provided by Artists United Against the War, the main coordinating group for actors opposed to the war in Iraq (the pins design is a peace sign inside a circle) on Oscar night, the pins were noticibly absent from many who were expected to be sporting it.
Theres little doubt there will be political speeches from the stage. While presenters have been encouraged to stick to the script, winners are not likewise restricted. "They have earned their 45 seconds in the sun and they can say what they like," said the show's producer, Gil Cates.
In what may be seen as either a move to be sensitive to the actors or an attempt to control the inevitable political questions and further speeches to the press after the ceremonies, the traditional post-Oscar Vanity Fair party went ahead, but journalists who had been invited to attend the event all had their invitations withdrawn.