Zelenskyy once again snubbed by Oscars as polls show American support for Ukraine war weakening

Will Smith won’t be the only notable celebrity missing from Sunday’s 95th Academy Awards as, for the second year in a row, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is giving Kyiv the cold shoulder.

Much like the Jan. 6 committee hired former ABC News executive James Goldston to try and spruce up its image with Hollywood-style production of their gaslighting of the American people, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is reportedly reaching back to his roots as an actor with the enlistment of an agent to book him gigs that keep him in the spotlight.

Despite all their hashtag activism and the inclusion of the Ukrainian flag in their bios, the A-listers known for their own unfiltered soapboxing remained uninterested in sharing their annual gala with the routinely drab sweatshirt bedecked Zelenskyy. According to a report from Variety, the Ukrainian leader who has kept the White House and much of Congress in his back pocket had hired William Morris Endeavor (WME) talent agency partner Mike Simpson to petition the Academy for time on centerstage.

The snub was the second-such letdown by the Academy after Zelenskyy had been denied a similar request to speak at the 94th Academy Awards a little more than a month after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The Golden Globes were less reticent to assent to the wishes presented by the same agent who represents award-winning director Quentin Tarantino, and they allowed actor and communist sympathizer Sean Penn to introduce Zelenskyy during the January award show.

Penn has remained one of Zelenskyy’s most vocal supporters and had threatened to smelt one or both of his Best Actor awards ahead of the 94th Academy Awards if they refused to allow for the president’s participation.

“If it turns out to be what’s happening,” Penn said from Poland at the time of the first snub, “I would encourage everyone involved to know that 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, and I myself if it comes back to it, when I return, I will smelt mine in public.”

That never did happen, but Penn did gift Zelenskyy one of his awards during a meeting with the president in November as a loan until the conflict there was resolved.

While the reason for this year’s snub remains unclear, last year’s was reportedly related to concern from event producer Will Packer who believed Hollywood had shown too much attention to Ukraine where the population is predominantly white and not enough attention to similar conflicts around the world that have impacted nations with other majority races.

To date, the United States has spent approximately $200 billion in combined military, humanitarian and financial aid to Ukraine with no sign of slowing down, despite waning approval from the American public, especially as President Joe Biden has seemingly shown favor in supporting the foreign nation over addressing pressing domestic concerns.

According to Pew Research, by the end of January more than a quarter of respondents believed we were doing too much to support Ukraine, up from around seven percent at the onset, and those who believe we aren’t doing enough fell from over 40 percent to only 20 percent. That was weeks before Biden’s surprise visit to Kyiv where he promised more aid and shortly after the approval to provide M1A1 tanks to the war effort.


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Kevin Haggerty


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