Why is Richard Gere banned from the Oscars? It’s almost time for one of the most glamorous nights of the year – the 95th Academy Awards. The Oscars 2023 will air this Sunday (March 12), uniting Hollywood’s biggest, brightest and most beautiful stars under one roof. (That would be the roof of the Dolby Theater, which has been the home of the Academy Awards since 2002).
However, being a Hollywood A-lister doesn’t guarantee you an invitation to the glitzy bash. In fact, some big names have found themselves banned from the ceremony before. And then there are some, like Goldie Hawn, who chose not to attend even when they were invited – and nominated. Which celebrities have found themselves in the Academy’s bad books in the past?
Why is Richard Gere banned from the Oscars?
Richard Gere has starred in some of our favorite movies of all time, from classic romantic comedies like Pretty Woman and An Officer and a Gentleman to thrillers including Primal Fear.
He’s one of the most bankable leading men in movies but he was banned from attending the Oscars for a staggering twenty years.
The American Gigolo star was handed the two-decade ban in 1993 after he denounced the Chinese government onstage at the ceremony.
Taking to the stage, Richard, who is a practicing Tibetan Buddhist, hit out at China’s ongoing conflict with the predominantly Buddhist region of Tibet.
The actor went on stage and, in a moment that could only happen on live television, went off script saying, “With the knowledge of the horrendous human rights situation in China and Tibet, I wonder every day if we could send love, truth and sanity to Deng Xiaoping. Right now in Beijing, if maybe he will take his troops, get them out of Tibet and allow these people to go back to living as free and independent people.”
A controversial statement to make at the best of times, but considering Richard was only on stage to present the Oscar for Art Direction, it was considered a step too far by the Academy.
Who else has been handed bans from the Academy?
This year’s Oscars already have a crisis team ready thanks to Will Smith and *that* slap.
If you happened to miss it – and seriously, how? – last year, the Men in Black actor slapped comedian Chris Rock live on air.
Will lost his temper after Chris cracked a few jokes at the expense of Will’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
After the incident made headlines and set social media ablaze, the Oscars was quick to announce that Will is not permitted to attend any events held by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the next ten years.
Star of The Godfather Part II, Carmine Caridi has the dubious honor of being the first person expelled from the Academy altogether.
In 2004, he was kicked out after it was revealed he was producing copies of preview screeners of nominated movies. The FBI investigated the actor after copies of Something’s Gotta Give, The Last Samurai, Mystic River, Big Fish and Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World were said to have been traced back to him.
The other people banned have been done so for more nefarious reasons.
- Bill Cosby was banned after allegations of sexual assaults
- Director Romano Polanski was expelled from the Academy in 2018, more than 40 years after he was accused of raping a 13-year-old girl
- Harvey Weinstein was permanently banned in 2017 after he was accused and charged with countless cases of sexual assault.
When was Richard Gere allowed back at the Oscars?
Although Gere was supposedly prohibited from attending the Oscars for 20 years, he was allowed to return for the 2003 ceremony.
At the 75th Academy Awards, Gere’s co-stars were nominated for their parts in the big-screen adaptation of Chicago.
The movie was also nominated for Best Picture and Best Adapted Screenplay.
Gere himself was not recognized for any accolades but his co-stars Renée Zellweger, Queen Latifah, and Catherine Zeta-Jones were.
“Apparently, I’ve been rehabilitated. It seems if you stay around long enough, they forget they’ve banned you,” the actor shared with the Huffington Post of his appearance that year.
“I know everyone at this point. It’s like going to the Golden Globes, we all know each other, it’s like going to a big wedding family party, that’s really what it is.”
Since the 2003 Oscars, The Runaway Bride star has since presented a number of honors to his peers.
What did Richard Gere say at the 1993 Oscars ceremony?
Back in 1993, Richard Gere was banned from the Oscars for 20 years after going off-script and denouncing the Chinese government’s occupation of Tibet while presenting an award.
The Pretty Woman actor was onstage to present the Oscar Award for Art Direction and was reportedly given a script to jokingly compare artists like Michelangelo and Monet to art directors. However, Gere ignored the script and used his speech to criticize the Chinese government for its occupation of Tibet.
He also called out Deng Xiaoping, the late leader of the Chinese Communist Party, and asked the audience to send “love, truth and sanity” to the leader so he can take away his troops and allow Tibetan people to live freely and independently once again:
“With the knowledge of the horrendous human rights situation in China and Tibet, I wonder every day if we could send love, truth and sanity to Deng Xiaoping. Right now in Beijing, if maybe he will take his troops, get them out of Tibet and allow these people to go back to living as free and independent people.”
Richard Gere’s comments were reportedly considered highly controversial at the time and the actor was banned from attending the Oscars for 20 years. However, the Academy reportedly failed to enforce the ban as Gere was seen attending the 2003 Oscars when his musical film Chicago won the Oscar Award for Best Picture.
The American Gigolo actor was even invited back as a presenter for the show in 2013. Speaking about going back to the Oscars, Gere told the Huffington Post in 2013 that he was “apparently rehabilitated”: “It seems if you stay around long enough, they forget they’ve banned you.”
Richard Gere is a practicing Tibetan Buddhist and was a regular visitor to Dharamshala. He also serves as an advocate for human rights in Tibet and is the co-founder of Tibet House US.
The actor also created the Gere Foundation and served as the Chairman of the Board of Directors for the International Campaign for Tibet. He was allegedly banned from entering China as a supporter of the Tibetan Independence Movement.
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