Apple Has No Idea What To Do With Its Oscar Bait Movie Starring Will ‘The Slap’ Smith

March 27, 2022 should have been one of the best nights of Will Smith‘s life. He won his first Oscar for his performance in King Richard, but that’s not what anyone is going to remember about the evening. Instead, it — and possibly the rest of Smith’s career — will forever be associated with two words: The Slap.

Smith has since apologized for slapping Chris Rock, who failed to keep Jada Pinkett Smith’s name out of his motherf*cking mouth, but he was also banned from the Oscars for 10 years — and the fallout continues. Apple TV+ has no idea what to do with Emancipation, his next movie that the streaming service “envisioned as a surefire Oscar contender,” according to the New York Times. But now?

Apple finds itself left with a $120 million unreleased awards-style movie featuring a star no longer welcome at the biggest award show of them all, and a big question: Can the film, even if it succeeds artistically, overcome the baggage that now accompanies Mr. Smith? According to three people involved with the film who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the company’s planning, there have been discussions inside Apple to release Emancipation by the end of the year, which would make it eligible for awards consideration.

But other reports claim that the Antoine Fuqua-directed film, which is based on a true story of an escaped slave, has been pushed back to 2023. “If they shelve the movie, does that tarnish Apple’s reputation? If they release it, does it tarnish their reputation?” Stephen Galloway, the dean of Chapman University’s Dodge College of Film and Media Arts, told the Times. “Hollywood likes a win-win situation. This one is lose-lose.”

You know what’s a win-win proposition? Hitch 2. The time is right.

(Via the New York Times)