The Oscars Delayed Uploading Will Smith’s Best Actor Speech to YouTube

About a month after a chaotic Oscars ceremony ended, the full speeches from this year’s telecast were finally made available on the Oscars’ YouTube page over the past week. But until about 2 p.m. Tuesday there was one dramatic exception. Will Smith’s best acting speech for his performance in “King Richard” was conspicuously missing from the uploads posted earlier.

Variety has reached out to ABC and the Academy for comment on this story. Just before this story was published, the Academy uploaded Smith’s music video, after the organization uploaded the night’s final category, best picture, which went to “CODA” from Apple Original Movies.

Did it have anything to do with the slap in the face heard around the world and Smith’s controversial, tear-streaked speech he gave later that night? All of the winners’ clips had aired in the past seven days, in order of submission.

Anthony Hopkins then referenced Smith’s speech in his introduction for the Best Actress award, but that part of his remarks was also left on the cutting room floor when things were uploaded.

Smith, facing possible expulsion or suspension after slapping comedian and presenter Chris Rock during the Oscars telecast, resigned from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences five days after the incident. As a result, the Board of Governors decided to ban Smith from all Academy events, including the Academy Awards, for 10 years. So what about the decision not to include his remarks online?

The 53-year-old actor and producer isn’t the first Academy Award winner or member to face backlash for his actions. Five people have been expelled from the Academy in its history, including disgraced Hollywood producer and convicted rapist Harvey Weinstein, who won Best Picture for ‘Shakespeare in Love’ in 1999, and sex offender Roman Polanski , the best director winner for “The Pianist” in 2003. Polanski, who fled the country in 1977 after pleading guilty to having sex with a minor in 1977, was not present for his victory. However, Weinstein, who won before his New York Times expose exposed decades of sexual harassment and rape, and was found guilty and sentenced to 23 years in prison, was present at the ceremony. He won alongside co-producers David Parfitt, Donna Gigliotti, Edward Zwick and Marc Norman.

Some might argue that Smith’s controversial speech after his violent act against Rock should have no place in the Academy’s online archives. However, Weinstein’s 1999 speech, which was uploaded in March 2008, is still included in the four-minute, 27-second clip on the Academy’s YouTube page. He was expelled in 2017.

It should be noted that the Academy’s Twitter account shared Smith’s full speech on the night of the March 27 telecast, less than 20 minutes after the show ended.

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