Sean Penn has a message for the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences ahead of the 2022 Oscars.
The actor, who is currently filming a documentary about the Russian invasion of Ukraine, spoke to CNN’s Jim Acosta on Saturday, March 26, in which he shared his thoughts on the rumors that Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky would make a virtual appearance at the awards ceremony. Zelensky was an actor before turning to politics, and starred as the fictional president of his country on the sitcom Servant of the People before he took office in real life.
Penn, who took home the awards for Best Actor for the films Mystic River and Milk, told Acosta that the Oscars must have Zelensky on the program — otherwise, viewers and guests should boycott the ceremony.
“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. I myself, if it comes back to it, when I return, I will smelt mine in public,” Penn said. "I pray that's not what happened. 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."
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
Penn is currently in Warsaw, Poland, where he fled following the violence in Ukraine.
It is unclear if Zelensky will appear at the Oscars in some capacity, however, co-host Amy Schumer said on The Drew Barrymore Show that she wanted the Ukrainian president to participate and was turned down by the organizers.
“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.”
However, The New York Post claimed on Friday, March 25 that Zelensky is "in talks" with the Academy on whether he will make an appearance.
“[Ukrainians] are fighting for their lives, and will continue to fight for their lives, and I feel that we as Americans are plummeting off a cliff — the top of which is our flag which represents all of our dreams and the best of our dreams,” he explained at the time. “We’re plummeting where it will go out of our sight. I don’t know the answers. I don’t know if ‘no fly zones’ will create a nuclear war. I do know that we have to invest everything that we have to support the Ukrainian people, and support President Zelensky, or we will not have a memory of what America used to be.”