On Saturday, Actor Sean Penn vowed to smelt his Oscar trophies if the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences failed to give Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy a chance to appear at the Oscars. Zelenskyy ultimately did not appear at the event, and it’s not yet clear if Penn will follow through on his vow.
“If it turns out to be what is happening, I would encourage everyone involved, 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,” Penn, who previously won Best Actor for Mystic River and Milk, told CNN’s Jim Acosta, as reported by Deadline.
“I myself, if it comes back to it, when I return, I will smelt mine in public,” Penn vowed. “I pray that’s not what happens. I pray there have not been arrogant people who consider themselves representatives of the greater good who have decided not to check in with leadership in Ukraine. So I’m going to hope that’s not what happened, and I hope everyone walks out if it is.”
Zelenskyy ultimately did not appear at the award show, and instead, a moment of silence was held with a tribute to Ukraine played on a screen.
During an appearance on The Drew Barrymore Show, Oscar co-host Amy Schumer said she wanted to find a way to have Zelenskyy speak at the event.
“I wanted to find a way to have Zelensky satellite in or make a tape or something, just because there are so many eyes on the Oscars,” Schumer said. “I think it’s a great opportunity to at least comment on a couple of things. I have some jokes that kind of highlight the sort of current condition.”
For weeks, Penn has been in Eastern Europe filming a documentary covering the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Penn has apparently had close contact with the Ukrainian government, tweeting earlier this month that he took a call with Zelenskyy’s chief of staff.
“I JUST got off a call with President Zelensky’s Chief of staff, Andriy Yermak. Somewhere in the bureaucratic chain between our White House & the Polish Gov., the desperately NEEDED jets are not yet delivered to Ukraine. Public outcry may find the bottleneck,” Penn wrote.
In late February, Penn wrote on Twitter that he and his colleagues “walked miles to the Polish border” after being forced to leave their car behind.
“Myself & two colleagues walked miles to the Polish border after abandoning our car on the side of the road. Almost all the cars in this photo carry women & children only, most without any sign of luggage, and a car their only possession of value,” he tweeted.