2023 Oscars hires ‘crisis team’ after Will Smith slap: A look at who else is banned from the Academy

The 95th annual Academy Awards are just a few short weeks away, and a clearer picture is forming of what this year’s ceremony will look like.

It was just announced Rihanna will perform her Oscar-nominated song “Lift Me Up” from “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” during the ceremony. 

The singer recently made headlines with her Super Bowl LVII halftime show performance, during which she revealed she is pregnant with her second child.

The Oscars are expected to announce additional performers in the coming weeks, along with presenters for this year’s ceremony.


Jimmy Kimmel is returning as host for the third time for the awards show, which will air Sunday, March 12 on ABC.

This year’s Oscars will certainly be under more scrutiny than ever in the wake of Will Smith’s infamous slap

In a new interview with Time, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences CEO Bill Kramer revealed that the organization has set up a “crisis team” to deal with any real-time emergencies.

“We have a whole crisis team, something we’ve never had before, and many plans in place,” Kramer said. “We’ve run many scenarios. So it is our hope that we will be prepared for anything that we may not anticipate right now but that we’re planning for just in case it does happen.”

Kramer added that he hopes they “never have to use these,” but they are prepared should anything as unusual as “the slap” happen again.

Before the big night, here are some questions about the Oscars answered.


Emil Jannings was the first person to ever be handed an Oscar

In 1929, he won the first best actor award at the inaugural ceremony and earned the statue for not one, but two performances: “The Lost Command” and “The Way of All Flesh.”

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Jannings returned to his native Germany after his win. As Hitler and the Nazis rose to power, Jannings became part of the Nazi PR machine and was put in charge of the Nazis’ film production. He tried to explain away his actions in his autobiography “Life and Me,” but his reputation was forever tarnished. His Oscar is in the collection of the Deutsche Kinemathek film museum in Germany.

The first best actress, Janet Gaynor, won for three performances: “7th Heaven,” “Street Angel” and “Sunrise.” Awarding actors and actresses for multiple films was the standard at the first Oscars. 

The 1927 silent romantic war drama “Wings” won the first award for best picture, though the award was given out two years after its release. The movie was a romantic action-war drama, about a love triangle between two WWI pilots and the woman they both love, played by silent film icon Clara Bow.

The ceremony was held in 1929 at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel and honored films from 1927 and 1928. Winners were announced three months in advance, and the actual presentation of the awards took only 15 minutes during a private dinner at the venue.

1929 was also the year the groundbreaking first sound film, or “talkie,” “The Jazz Singer” premiered, but it was considered an unfair advantage for sound movies to compete against silent movies, so it was instead given an honorary award for “pioneering talking pictures.”


According to the Academy’s official website, the origins of the name are actually unclear. The most popular story is that Academy librarian and eventual executive director Margaret Herrick said it looked like her Uncle Oscar. The name was not officially adopted until 1939, but it began being referred to as an “Oscar” as early as 1935.

Its official name is the Academy Award of Merit. The statuette weighs 8.5 pounds and stands 13.5 inches tall, and it takes three months to make 50 statuettes.

Three people have turned down the award. The most well-known instances are George C. Scott and Marlon Brando.

Scott was the first actor to turn the award down when he won best actor for the title role in 1970’s “Patton.” He refused to accept the statue because he did not believe in competition between actors and did not attend the award show.

In a letter to the Academy, Scott reportedly wrote he did not “want any part of it,” and later called the ceremony “a godd— meat parade.”

Brando is perhaps the most infamous case of an actor refusing an Oscar.

When he won in 1973 for “The Godfather,” he was not in attendance. Instead, Sacheen Littlefeather went on stage and delivered his refusal for him.

In a speech written by Brando, Littlefeather said he “very regretfully cannot accept this very generous award.”

She continued, “And the reasons for this being are the treatment of American Indians today by the film industry … and on television in movie reruns, and also with recent happenings at Wounded Knee.”

Littlefeather faced intense backlash for her involvement and her career in Hollywood suffered. Before her death in 2022, the Academy did issue her an apology for her treatment. Following her death, the sisters of Sacheen Littlefeather claimed the late activist was a liar and a fraud — and not Native at all in an explosive interview. 


The first person to ever offer a refusal was screenwriter Dudley Nichols in 1935. 

Nichols won in 1935 for “The Informer,” but he refused to accept the award until the Academy officially recognized the Screen Writers Guild. He later accepted his award at the 1938 ceremony.

Only one statue has ever been revoked by the Academy.

At the 41st Academy Awards in 1969, the film “Young Americans” won best documentary feature.

A few weeks later, the Academy discovered that the film had been shown in a theater in October 1967, making it ineligible for the 1968 award year. The Academy’s rules stipulate that the film must have a theatrical qualifying run sometime between Jan. 1 to Dec. 31 of the previous calendar year.

There have been several nominations revoked throughout Academy Awards history, often over technicalities on credit or release requirements.

In recent years, there have been nominations revoked over ethical concerns. 

The best original song nomination for “Alone Yet Not Alone,” from the 2013 Christian film of the same name was revoked after Bruce Broughton, one of its writers and an executive member of the Academy’s music branch, emailed members to alert them to the submission during the nomination process. 

The Michael Bay-directed “13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi” earned a best sound mixing nomination for the 89th Academy Awards, but that was rescinded after it was discovered that Greg P. Russell, one of the nominees for the film, had contacted voters by telephone in violation of the Academy’s campaign rules.

Those instances are reminiscent of this year’s controversy over Andrea Riseborough’s unexpected nomination for “To Leslie.” The independent film had not been on the award’s radar until an unorthodox campaign from the director’s wife, Mary McCormack, brought it attention. It involved emailing actors and encouraging them to post rave reviews of Riseborough on their social media, with the likes of Ed Norton, Kate Winslet, and Gwyneth Paltrow offering their support of Riseborough’s work.

The Academy investigated and concluded her nomination would stand.

“The Academy has determined the activity in question does not rise to the level that the film’s nomination should be rescinded,” Kramer said in a statement. “However, we did discover social media and outreach campaigning tactics that caused concern. These tactics are being addressed with the responsible parties directly.”


The most recent instance of a person being blacklisted or banned from the Oscars is Will Smith.

Last year, Smith infamously slapped presenter Chris Rock after the comedian made a joke about Jada Pinkett Smith’s bald head.

The 54-year-old, who won best actor for his role in “King Richard” shortly after the incident that night, voluntarily resigned from the Academy. The board of the Academy also banned Smith from the Oscars and any other event put on by the organization for 10 years.

Several other individuals have been banned from the Oscars, including Roman Polanski, Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby for their various sexual assault and harassment allegations.

At the 1993 event, Richard Gere, Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon were banned for going off script to protest China’s occupation in Tibet and in support of Haitian refugees, respectively. Their bans have since been lifted.


Generally, the Oscar is considered the top award in filmmaking, with categories voted on by industry professionals, divided into respective subgroups (actors, directors, writers, etc.). The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is made up of almost 10,000 members.

The Oscars are the last stop in “awards” season, the time from roughly January to March where various organizations celebrate achievements for film. 

Those include the Golden Globes, which returned this year after controversy with a televised ceremony, the British Academy Film Awards, and various guild specific awards like Producers, Directors, and Screen Actors Guild. Several of the awards also have categories for television performance, but the primary award for television is The Emmy, typically presented in the fall.

Outside filmmaking, entertainers and creatives can rack up awards across mediums, resulting in the coveted EGOT status. EGOT is an acronym for Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony, and only 18 people have achieved it so far.

Viola Davis, is the most recent person to achieve the honor, after winning a Grammy for best audiobook narration this year. 

Other well-known people to achieve the honor are Rita Moreno, Audrey Hepburn, Mel Brooks, Whoopi Goldberg, John Legend and Jennifer Hudson.