Oscars reject Zelensky's bid to appear on telecast for 2nd time
The former comedian desperately tries to appear on the telecast, but the Oscars keep rejecting his request.
For the second time since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, the Oscars are rejecting Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky's bid to make a virtual appearance on the telecast, Variety reported on Friday.
Zelensky is known to make frequent virtual appearances in some of the most prestigious shows and festivals across Europe and the US, including the New York Stock Exchange. He made appearances in both the Cannes and Venice film festivals, as well as the Grammy Awards.
The Ukrainian leader made an appearance at the New York Stock Exchange in September and virtually rang the Opening Bell to mark the start of the day's trading session.
He appeared at the Golden Globes awards in January and was introduced by American actor Sean Penn. Zelensky vowed that Ukraine will win the war against Russia while hailing "the free people of the free world — those who united around the support of the free Ukrainian people." And just a month ago, he made a virtual appearance at Germany's prestigious Berlin Film Festival.
However, the Oscars have refused, for the second year in a row this time, to offer the Ukrainian leader some time to appear on the telecast.
According to Variety, WME power agent Mike Simpson made the plea to include Zelensky in the telecast, but that request was rejected.
Simpson represents Aaron Kaufman who co-directed with Penn a documentary on Zelensky titled "Superpower," which also debuted during the Berlin Film Festival in February.
Throughout the multiple press conferences that were held for the documentary, Penn repeatedly called for the US to increase military support for Ukraine, including "the delivery and supply of long-range precision missiles."
Zelensky has requested the US to supply Kiev with fighter jets, but the US President has rejected the plea several times.
The news comes in light of weakened support for the Kiev government - as several polls have revealed in recent months.
Oscars producer Will Packer said last year that Hollywood was giving Ukraine excessive amounts of exposure for the sole reason that the affected people were white.
Another reason for the rejection may be owed to the fact that the academy prefers to focus on contributions to the filmmaking community rather than political controversies.
Last year, the Toronto Film Festival rejected the Ukrainian leader's bid to make a remote appearance. A spokesperson of the event said that the festival "does not comment on discussions with dignitaries, government officials or international embassies."
The spokesperson added that the festival "stands in solidarity with Ukrainians both here at home and abroad and is proud to showcase the depth and creativity of Ukrainian filmmakers at this year’s festival."