Will Smith will be entering the 2023 Oscar race with his new slavery drama, Emancipation.
The Apple film was left in limbo, following Smith infamously slapping Chris Rock at the Academy Awards in March, but it’s now been announced that the actor’s next big project will drop this December.
Emancipation will be released in select cinemas on December 2nd, before coming to Apple TV + a week later, and will therefore be eligible for the 2023 Oscar race despite Smith being banned from attending the Academy Awards for 10 years.
Emancipation is directed by Antoine Fuqua and tells the true story of “Whipped Peter,” who joined the Union Army in the 1860s after escaping from slavery in Louisiana. Photos taken during his army medical examination showed his back heavily mutilated from whipping and were widely shared as part of the abolitionist movement — helping in the fight against slavery.
Before Smith was banned by the Academy, the actor resigned his membership, saying: “My actions at the 94th Academy Awards presentation were shocking, painful, and inexcusable.”
Despite apologising to the Academy on the night of the slap, Smith didn’t apologise to Rock until three months later, by way of a video posted on Instagram. Rock later described it as a “hostage video.”