每日英語跟讀 Ep.K462: Apple Feels the Sting From an Oscar Slap
Apple has a Will Smith problem.
Smith is the star of “Emancipation,” a film set during the Civil War era that Apple envisioned as a surefire Oscar contender when it wrapped filming earlier this year. But that was before Smith strode onto the stage at the Academy Awards in March and slapped comedian Chris Rock, who had made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
Will Smith, who also won best actor that night, has since surrendered his membership in the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and has been banned from attending any Academy-related events, including the Oscar telecast, for the next decade.
Now Apple finds itself left with a $120 million unreleased awards-style movie featuring a star no longer welcome at the biggest award show of them all and a big question: Can the film, even if it succeeds artistically, overcome the baggage that now accompanies Smith?
According to three people involved with the film who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the company’s planning, there have been discussions inside Apple to release “Emancipation” by the end of the year, which would make it eligible for awards consideration. Variety reported in May, however, that the film’s release would be pushed into 2023.
When asked for this article how and when it planned to release “Emancipation,” Apple declined to comment.
“Emancipation,” directed by Antoine Fuqua (“Training Day”) and with a script by William Collage, is based on the true story of a slave known as “Whipped Peter,”who joined the Union Army while still in the South.
Apple set up a general audience test screening of “Emancipation” in Chicago earlier this year, according to three people with knowledge of the event who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not permitted to discuss it publicly. They said it generated an overwhelmingly positive reaction, specifically for Smith’s performance, which one of the people called “volcanic.” Audience members, during the after-screening feedback, said they were not turned off by Smith’s recent public behavior.
Smith largely disappeared from public view following the Oscars. But in July, he released a video on his YouTube channel in which he said he was “deeply remorseful” for his behavior and apologized directly to Rock and his family.