Sean Penn Vows to 'Smelt' Oscar if Zelensky Can't Speak at Academy Awards

Actor and activist Sean Penn on Saturday vowed to destroy his Academy Awards in public if the award ceremony chooses to not give Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky a platform to speak.

Zelensky has reportedly been in talks with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to make a video appearance during Sunday's broadcast of the Oscars, the New York Post reported Friday. However, awards co-host Amy Schumer said in an interview last week that her request to have Zelensky address the nation during the show was rejected by producers.

Penn, who is filming a documentary about Russia's invasion in Ukraine and working to supply humanitarian aid to Ukrainian refugees in Poland and Romania, told CNN on Saturday he would be gravely disappointed if the Academy denies the Ukrainian leader the opportunity to speak. Penn has won two Academy Awards in the Best Actor category for the films Mystic River and Milk.

"There is nothing greater that the Academy Awards could do than to give him that opportunity to talk to all of us," Penn said.

"It is my understanding that a decision has been made not to do it," Penn added, while noting that he is unsure what Zelensky's position on the matter is. "If the Academy has elected not to do, if presenters have elected not to pursue the leadership in Ukraine that are taking bullets and bombs for us... then I think every single one of those people, and every bit of that decision, will have been the most obscene moment in all of Hollywood history."

If that is the case, Penn added, he would encourage everyone involved in the awards to protest and boycott the ceremony.

"I myself – if it comes back to it – when I return, I will smelt mine in public. I pray that's not what's happened," he said. "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."

Sean Penn Zelensky-Oscars
Sean Penn said Saturday that he will destroy his Academy Awards if Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky is not given a chance to speak during the ceremony. Here, Penn speaks during a press conference on March 23, 2022 in Krakow, Poland. Omar Marques/Getty Images

It is unclear whether or not Zelensky was invited to make an appearance during the award ceremony, or if he has expressed interested in doing so. However, this year's show, which will take place on Sunday, March 27, is expected to be rife with mentions of the ongoing war.

Ukrainian-born actress Mila Kunis, who helped raise $35 million for Ukrainian refugees alongside her husband, Ashton Kutcher, will reportedly make a statement during the ceremony, The Post reported.

Schumer, who will host the ceremony alongside Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall, also said last week that she would be mindful of current affairs as there are "so many eyes and ears" on the show.

Meanwhile, the show's executive producer, Will Packer, told reporters on Thursday that the ceremony will "respectfully acknowledge" the conflict.

"This is a really [momentous] time in humankind history, and we're very aware of that," Packer said, according to CNN. "And so you don't go into a show like this, I don't think, and not be aware of that and not find a way to respectfully acknowledge where we are and how fortunate we are to even be able to put on this show."

Newsweek contacted the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for an additional comment.