Will Smith’s Next Awards Contender Will Reportedly Be Pushed to 2023
More than a month after the slap that got him banned from the Oscars for a decade, Will Smith is still considered persona non grata in Hollywood. After he assaulted Chris Rock because of an ill-advised joke made against his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, many of Smith’s future projects appeared to be in flux. Now, the film that was set to be his awards-season follow-up is reportedly being pushed to next year.
Emancipation, an action-drama in which Smith stars as Peter, a man who escapes slavery in the Louisiana swamps, has been delayed from its expected fall 2022 release date to sometime in 2023, Variety reports. Directed by Antoine Fuqua, the film was expected to be a repeat awards contender for both Smith, who won best actor for King Richard, and distributor Apple, hot off its best-picture win for CODA. An anonymous filmmaker told Variety that when seeing footage of the project before the slap, they predicted that “Will’s going to win [Oscars] back-to-back.”
An official release date had not been announced, but a source told Variety “it’s an unspoken truth” that Emancipation will be shifted off the 2022 schedule. The insider said that while conversations about keeping a fall release continue between Apple execs and the filmmakers, “it seems highly unlikely.” Elsewhere on Smith’s IMDB, both Bad Boys 4 and Netflix’s Fast and Loose are reportedly on pause; Netflix also reportedly canceled its sequel to 2017’s Bright, although it’s reportedly unclear if that decision was made because of the Oscars slap.
Smith has maintained a low profile since the incident. Last month, he was spotted in India and a source told Entertainment Tonight that he “has been going to therapy after the Oscars incident.” He has yet to publicly address the scandal, but will appear on this season of David Letterman’s My Next Guest Needs No Introduction, which premieres on Netflix May 20. However, Smith’s interview was reportedly filmed prior to the Oscars.