Sean Penn vows to melt down one of his Oscars if the Motion Picture Academy doesn’t work Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy into Sunday’s ceremony.
Penn, who won Best Actor trophies for “Mystic River” and “Milk,” appeared virtually on a CNN interview with Jim Acosta Saturday, speaking to the anchor from Warsaw, Poland, where he is currently aiding humanitarian efforts with his nonprofit CORE.
The actor, who was also in Ukraine last month filming a documentary about Russia’s invasion of the country, said the decision not to invite Zelenskyy “will have been the most obscene moment in all of Hollywood history.”
The “Flag Day” director acknowledged that he is “not commenting on” whether Zelenskyy had wanted to participate in the awards show in the first place, but rather that — as he understands it — organizers have decided against the telecast appearance. If that is indeed the case, Penn encourages fellow actors to boycott the event.
“If the Academy has elected not to do it, if presenters have elected not to pursue the leadership in Ukraine who are taking bullets and bombs for us, along with the Ukrainian children that they are trying to protect, then I think every single one of those people and every bit of that decision will have been the most obscene moment in all of Hollywood history,” he said.
Penn continued, “If it turns out to be what’s happening, I would encourage everyone involved to know that, 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.”
“I pray that’s not what’s happened,” the actor concluded. “I pray there have not been arrogant people who consider themselves representatives of the greater good in my industry that have not decided to check in with leadership in Ukraine. I’m just gonna hope that that’s not what’s happened, and I hope that everybody walks out, if it is.”
Zelenskyy’s possible participation was floated after Amy Schumer — one of the year’s hosts alongside Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall — said she pitched the comedic actor-turned-president’s involvement during an appearance on “The Drew Barrymore Show.” However, she added that her request was denied.
“There are so many awful things happening that it seems hard to focus on which one,” Schumer said. “I actually pitched — I wanted to find a way to have Zelenskyy satellite in or make a tape or something, just because there are so many eyes on the Oscars. I am not afraid to go there, but it’s not me producing the Oscars.”