Why Richard Gere and 6 More Celebrities Were Banned from the Oscars

The 96th Academy Awards took place on March 10, 2024, at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. It was a night to celebrate the outstanding achievements of stars in the film industry for their work in movies released in 2023.

Christopher Nolan’s film “Oppenheimer” stole the spotlight at the ceremony. Cillian Murphy, the lead actor, received the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role, while his co-star Robert Downey Jr. secured the Best Actor in a Supporting Role award.

Other notable winners included Emma Stone, who won Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in “Poor Things,” and Da’Vine Joy Randolph, who was honored with Best Actress in a Supporting Role for “The Holdovers.”

While the Academy recognizes excellence in the film industry, it has also faced controversies and had to sever ties with certain prominent figures. Hollywood’s elite is not immune to scandal, and the Oscars have seen their share of controversies.

Over the years, individuals have been banned from the Academy Awards for various reasons, ranging from criminal charges to unauthorized advocacy. These incidents reflect the diverse actions and consequences within the film industry. Here are some notable figures who have been banned by the Academy:

Carmine Caridi’s Screeners Scandal

Carmine Caridi, known for his roles in “The Godfather” trilogy, was involved in a piracy scandal. He lent screeners, meant for Oscar consideration, to a notorious movie pirate, violating an agreement with the MPAA.

This breach led to his expulsion from the Academy in January 2004, making him the first member to be ousted for such an offense. Caridi expressed regret, stating that he was trying to do a favor but was ultimately betrayed.

Will Smith’s Oscar Night Outburst

In March 2022, Will Smith slapped and verbally attacked Chris Rock at the 94th Academy Awards after Rock made a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, who has alopecia.

Smith’s actions violated conduct standards, despite winning an Oscar for Best Actor that night. Following the incident, he announced his resignation from the Academy and issued public apologies to Rock.

The Academy banned Smith for ten years in response to the controversy.

Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski: Expulsions Due to Sexual Misconduct

In 2018, Bill Cosby and Roman Polanski were expelled from the Academy amid sexual misconduct allegations and convictions.

Cosby was convicted on three counts of aggravated assault, and Polanski faced accusations from multiple individuals. The Academy emphasized its commitment to ethical standards and respect for human dignity in its decision to expel them.

Adam Kimmel’s Fall from Grace

Renowned cinematographer Adam Kimmel, once lauded for his cinematic achievements, faced expulsion from the industry upon revelations of his status as a registered sex offender. His legal troubles stemmed from two separate incidents involving sexual crimes against underage girls, occurring in 2003 and 2010.

Kimmel, who also dabbled in acting, pleaded guilty to third-degree rape in February 2004 for the initial offense. Despite his conviction, he continued working in show business, his past transgressions remaining undisclosed.

However, as his criminal history came to light, Kimmel was removed from both the Academy and the American Society of Cinematographers, effectively ending his career in the film industry.

Harvey Weinstein: The Downfall of a Hollywood Mogul

Harvey Weinstein, a prominent figure in Hollywood, faced a similar fate due to his involvement in sexual misconduct. Following his conviction on two counts of sexual assault, Weinstein received a 20-year sentence for a first-degree criminal sex act and an additional three-year sentence for third-degree rape.

His sentencing marked a pivotal moment in the #MeToo movement, with Weinstein’s expulsion from the Academy symbolizing a collective stance against sexual predatory behavior in the industry.

Despite Weinstein’s once-glorified status and numerous accolades, including an Oscar Award, his downfall served as a stark reminder of the consequences of abuse of power and exploitation.

Richard Gere’s Advocacy and Ban

In 1993, actor Richard Gere used his platform during an Oscar presentation speech to advocate for human rights in China, deviating from the scripted dialogue to address a global audience. His impassioned plea, calling for freedom in Tibet, resulted in an unofficial ban from future Oscars ceremonies.

Decades later, Gere reflected on the incident, hinting at a potential shift in perspective within the industry. Despite the ban, Gere’s continued presence in Hollywood suggests a nuanced approach to redemption and forgiveness.

These stories underscore not only the personal failings of celebrities but also the evolving standards of accountability and ethics within the entertainment industry. No individual, regardless of status or influence, is exempt from scrutiny or immune to the consequences of their actions.