Sean Penn is warning the Academy against excluding Ukrainian President Zelensky from this Sunday’s Oscars ceremony.
As Penn shared with CNN’s Jim Acosta, the Academy has a duty to invite Zelensky to speak about his country’s situation. Because if he does, he could gain help and support from viewers around the globe. However, it seems as though officials have decided against the plan.
“There is nothing greater that the Academy Awards could do than to give [Zelensky] an opportunity to talk to all of us,” Penn said. “It is my understanding that a decision has been made not to do it. That is not me commenting on whether or not President Zelensky had wanted to.”
As the two-time Oscar winner continued, he stressed that the “leadership in Ukraine” is “taking bullets and bombs for us, along with the Ukrainian children that they are trying to protect.”
And if the awards show decides to snub Zelensky, everyone in Hollywood should boycott.
Sean Penn Will Destroy His Two Oscars if the Academy Doesn’t Ask President Zelensky to Speak
Sean Penn has vowed to take a stand if the Academy doesn’t right their wrong. But he’s hoping that he’s wrong about his assumptions that the organizers have overlooked the president.
“If it comes back to it, I will smelt [my Oscars] in public,” he continued. “I pray that’s not what’s happened. And I pray there have not been arrogant people, who consider themselves representatives of the greater good in my industry, that have [decided against checking] with leadership in Ukraine… I hope [every attendee] walks out if it is.”
This year’s Oscar co-host Amy Schumer said on Monday that she personally asked the ceremony organizers to find “a way to have Zelensky satellite in or make a tape” this weekend, adding that she’s not afraid to make a scene. But ultimately, she recognizes that she’s not the person in charge.
Penn has been a huge advocate for the Ukrainian people since Russia invaded on February 24th. Last month, he even visited the war zone to film a documentary for Vice Studios.
Myself & two colleagues walked miles to the Polish border after abandoning our car on the side of the road. Almost all the cars in this photo carry women & children only, most without any sign of luggage, and a car their only possession of value. pic.twitter.com/XSwCDgYVSH— Sean Penn (@SeanPenn) February 28, 2022
Sean Penn also met with President Zelensky the day before and the day of the invasion. And in his opinion, the president was destined to lead the country through these difficult times.
“I don’t know if he knew that he was born for this. But it was clear I was in the presence of something,” he told CNN’s Anderson Cooper. “And again, I think reflected of so many Ukrainians, that was new to the modern world in terms of courage and dignity, and love that comes out of the man and the way he has unified that country.”