Oscars rejects Ukrainian President Zelenskyy's bid to appear for the second time

Oscars Producer Will Packer had earlier expressed that the Hollywood places attention on Ukraine since the war primarily affects 'white' countries

Ukrainian President Zelenskyy
Ukrainian President Zelenskyy

NH Digital

The Academy  of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has rejected Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's plea to make a remote appearance at the Oscars for the second consecutive year.

Amid the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine, Zelenskyy appealed to deliver a virtual speech at the 95th Academy Awards to be held on March 12 at the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles, California.

Zelenskyy's team had reached out to the Academy in 2022, hoping to use the platform of what is hailed as the biggest award ceremony in the film industry to speak about the Russia-Ukraine war and the condition of his nation.

As per a Variety report, following last year's rejection, the Ukranian President had employed WME power agent Mike Simpson to make the plea to the Academy this time around.

Simpson, who represents revered filmmakers Quentin Tarantino and Bong Joon Ho, also represents Aaron Kaufman, who co-directed alongside Sean Penn -- "Superpower" -- the documentary on Zelenskyy.

While, the Academy has not yet specified the reason behind the two consecutive rejections, Zelenskyy has been welcomed to several coveted award shows and film festivals.

The Ukrainian president last appeared at the 80th Golden Globe Awards in January; his documentary debuted at the Berlin Film Festival in February. He has also appeared at the Cannes Film Festival, Venice Film Festivals, Grammy Awards and virtually rang the Opening Bell of the New York Stock Exchange in September. 

"Cinema is able to overcome borders and walls, whether real or ideological. It seems to me very symbolic. Today, Russia wants to build the same wall, between civilization and tyranny," Zelenskyy said at Berlinale, where his virtual speech received a standing ovation.

Previously, Oscars Producer Will Packer had revealed that he believes Ukraine receives disproportionate attention from Hollywood since the war primarily affects 'white' nations, and the industry has shown a pattern of overlooking various other wars affecting people of colour.

The Russia-Ukraine war, beginning on February 24, 2022 after Russian President Vladimir Putin launched a military attack on its neighbouring nation, entered its 380th day on Friday, March 10.

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