HomeNewsUkraine’s President Zelenskyy Denied Academy Awards Appearance For the Second Year

Ukraine’s President Zelenskyy Denied Academy Awards Appearance For the Second Year

by Samantha Whidden
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy
(Photo by BERTRAND GUAY/AFP via Getty Images)

As the war between Ukraine and Russia continues, the Oscars has decided to not feature Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy during the upcoming award shows’ telecast for the second year in a row. 

According to Variety, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) decided to ignore the requests from WME agent Mike Simpson to feature President Zelenskyy in a virtual spot during the 2023 Oscars. The Academy has notably declined to comment on its decision. 

Variety reported that Simpson became involved in the situation after he started representing Aaron Kaufman, who co-directed with Sean Penn, Superpower, which is a documentary about President Zelenskyy. Penn previously called on the U.S. government to increase its support for Ukraine. This meant delivering and supplying long-range precision missiles. Zelenskyy met with President Biden at the end of 2022 and asked Congress to supply more military aid to his country as Russia continued its attacks.

Prior to the 2022 Oscars, it was reported that Oscars producer Will Packer decided to nix Zelenskyy’s potential appearance after he expressed concerns that Hollywood was only showering Ukraine with attention because those who are impacted by the conflict were white and the world would be ignoring the wars and conflict involving people of color.

Along with the Academy, President Zelenskyy has received a rejection from the Toronto Film Festival as well. In September 2021, Zelenskyy was denied an appearance at the big event through satellite. A spokesperson for the film festival stated at the time that the event doesn’t comment on discussions with dignitaries, government officials, or international embassies. However, the spokesperson then explained that the festival does stand in solidarity with Ukrainians. 

President Zelenskyy Appeared Through Video at the 2023 Golden Globes 

PEOPLE reported that in January 2023, President Zelenskyy made an appearance during the Golden Globes where he paid homage to the long-running award show. 

“The [Golden Globe Awards were] borne at a special time,” Zelenskyy stated. “The Second World War wasn’t over yet, but the tide was turned [and] all knew who would win. There were still battles and tears ahead. It was then when the Golden Globe Awards appeared to honor the best performers of 1943.”

Zelenskyy then said that while the conflict with Russia continues, he believes the tide is turning for his country. “And it is already clear who will win,” he declared. The politician then noted that while there are still “battles and tears” ahead, he can definitely say who was the best during the past year. “It was you, the free people of the free world.” 

“Those who united around the support of the free Ukrainian people in our common struggle for freedom, democracy,” he went on to add. “For the right to live, to love, to give birth, no matter who you are, no matter where you are from, no matter who you are with.”