Why was Richard Gere banned from the Oscars, and which other stars have been blacklisted?

The Academy Awards are the highlight of award season, but some celebrities have to watch at home with the rest of us

Richard Gere was banned from the Oscars for 20 years
(Image credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

It’s time for the most glamorous night of the year – the 95th Academy Awards. 

The Oscars 2023 are airing live now 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).

We're live blogging the juiciest moments throughout the night, from the best red carpet looks (or should that be champagne carpet looks?) to highlights from the ceremony, so be sure to keep up with Hollywood's biggest night.

And you might not be the only one keeping up through our blog. This is because 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.

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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?

Richard Gere returned to the Oscars in 2013 after a two decade ban

(Image credit: Jeffrey Mayer/WireImage)

Why was 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.

Richard Gere was married to Cindy Crawford in 1993, when his famous Oscars speech saw him banned

(Image credit: KMazur/WireImage)

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?

Will Smith

This year’s Oscars already have a crisis team ready thanks to Will Smith and *that* slap.

Will Smith's now infamous Oscars slap has landed him a ten-year ban

(Image credit: ROBYN BECK/AFP via Getty Images)

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.

Carmine Caridi

Star of The Godfather Part II, Carmine Caridi has the dubious honor of being the first person expelled from the Academy altogether.

The Godfather actor was banned for making pirate copies of the nominated movies

(Image credit: Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images)

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.
Jack Slater
Freelance writer

Jack Slater is not the Last Action Hero, but that's what comes up first when you Google him. Preferring a much more sedentary life, Jack gets his thrills by covering news, entertainment, celebrity, film and culture for woman&home, and other digital publications.

Having written for various print and online publications—ranging from national syndicates to niche magazines—Jack has written about nearly everything there is to write about, covering LGBTQ+ news, celebrity features, TV and film scoops, reviewing the latest theatre shows lighting up London’s West End and the most pressing of SEO based stories.