In the high-stakes atmosphere of Hollywood awards season, sometimes a rumor alone can begin to alter the chances for an actor or actress when it comes to taking the stage and grabbing some of that Oscar hardware. Could that be the case for Will Smith when it comes to him stepping on the stage and accepting an award for his lead role in King Richard? The folks at World of Reel certainly think there could be an issue regarding Smith’s current vaccination status. In a Hollywood world concerned with appearances, would this kind of thing be enough to lower Will Smith’s chances? It’s certainly possible.
The World of Reel piece details some possible publicity shenanigans going on behind Hollywood closed doors that suggest others in the film game are out there letting people know that Will Smith isn’t vaccinated against Covid-19. Why would this matter at all for someone’s Oscar chances? Short answer: it shouldn’t even in the slightest. But during screenings of King Richard at Telluride and the BFI London Film Festival Will Smith wasn’t in attendance. This led some to believe he wasn’t there because of his vaccination status. The speculation about his Oscar chances now could be tied to whether voters want to call someone up to the stage who might not be in attendance at the awards show.
This past year the Emmy Awards required all of those in attendance to show proof of vaccine in order to take part in the festivities. This was back in July and since then the discussion around vaccines has seemed to only intensify. If there was a rumor about where Will Smith stood with vaccines, even if inaccurate, could it be enough to scare voters off, in terms of optics, from having him accept an award? Stranger things and all.
The World or Reel piece goes on to try and connect the dots about Will Smith and whether he is vaccinated or not. There is a connection between a The Hollywood Reporter article about a major production being shut down in August and how they had found out that Smith’s movie Emancipation was also delayed because of a number of Covid positive tests on the set. Rumors? Sure, but this is Hollywood we are talking about here.
Will Smith might still be the frontrunner for the Oscar award for Best Actor when it is all said and done. There is considerable buzz starting about his role as Richard Williams, father of tennis stars Venus and Serena Williams in King Richard. Initial screenings garnered near-universal praise for the movie and his star turn especially. It’s currently sitting at 93% on Rotten Tomatoes with multiple critics mentioning this performance would land him firmly in the discussion for an Oscar.
Again, should Will Smith’s chances for an Oscar be dependent on whether he has the Covid-19 vaccine? Of course not. This is an acting award and nothing else. But if the voters are looking to avoid controversy of any sort, then this could be the kind of thing we hear more about in the coming months. King Richard is set to release on November 19th in the United States.