The Academy Awards has reportedly rejected Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky’s request to appear on Sunday’s broadcast, signaling a cooling off of the love affair between Hollywood and Zelensky.
WME agent Mike Simpson made a plea to the Academy to include Zelensky but was rejected, according to a Variety report. Simpson reportedly represents documentarian Aaron Kaufman, who co-directed the pro-Zelensky documentary Superpower with Sean Penn.
The decision comes as public support for sending arms to Ukraine is softening, with a recent poll showing 48 percent of U.S. adults in favor of providing weapons to Ukraine, while 29 percent are opposed and 22 percent saying they’re neither in favor nor opposed.
That’s down from 60 percent of U.S. adults saying they were in favor of sending Ukraine weapons in 2022.
Hollywood has been one of Zelensky’s most reliable cheerleaders, with celebrities including Sean Penn, Ben Stiller, and Jessica Chastain traveling to Ukraine to promote the actor-turned-politician.
In January, NBC’s Golden Globes feted Zelensky with a special segment in which he spoke remotely, promising that his country would be victorious against Russian aggression. Last year, Zelensky delivered a speech at the Grammy Awards in a bizarre video that featured him in a bunker.
While last year’s Oscars didn’t feature Zelensky, the broadcast observed a moment of silence in recognition of Ukraine.
The 95th annual Academy Awards is set to air this Sunday on ABC. The network’s left-wing, late-night comedian Jimmy Kimmel is returning to host the ratings-challenged event.
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