The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences can scratch one name off its record-breaking list of 928 new invitees: French actress Emmanuelle Seigner, the wife of former Academy member Roman Polanski, has publicly rejected her membership.
In a blistering open letter published by the French newspaper Le Journal du Dimanche, Seigner blasted the Oscars organization, calling out its "hypocrisy" in issuing her an invitation to join the very organization that voted to expel her husband. Polanski, who pleaded guilty to raping a 13-year-old girl in 1977, fled the country the following year while awaiting sentencing, and has lived in exile overseas ever since. He was kicked out of the Academy in April, shortly after the rape conviction of Bill Cosby, who was also expelled.
According to Seigner, however, Polanski has made amends with his victim and taken responsibility for his onetime offense, and yet continues to face unfair scorn. The Academy's invitation is "a curious case of amnesia" on the organization's part, the actress said, adding that she thought its well-publicized effort to recruit more women was a misguided appropriation of feminism.
Her statement said, in part:
" ... how can I ignore the fact that a few weeks ago the Academy expelled my husband, Roman Polanski, in an attempt to appease the zeitgeist – the very same Academy which in 2002 awarded him an Oscar for The Pianist! A curious case of amnesia!
The Academy probably thinks I am enough of a spineless, social climbing actress that I would forget that I have been married for the past 29 years to one of the world’s greatest directors. I love him, he is my husband and the father of my children. He has been cast out like a pariah. Yet these same nameless academicians think that I should ‘mount the steps of glory’ behind his back? The insufferable hypocrisy! This proposal is one insult too many. I cannot remain silent any longer. You offend me whilst claiming to want to protect women!"
You can read her entire statement here.
Seigner and Polanski have been married since 1989 and have two children. The couple met while Polanski was directing Seigner in the film "Frantic," and have worked together several times since, including most recently on 2017's “D’après une histoire vraie” (“Based on a True Story”). Seigner has been nominated twice for the French equivalent of the Oscar, the Cesar Award, and has appeared in internationally renowned films including "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly" and "La Vie en Rose."
Whatever your thoughts on Polanski, this is a pretty embarrassing mistake on the part of the Academy, since it seems pretty obvious that the wife of the person you just kicked out wouldn't exactly accept an invitation with open arms. It's unclear how the organization failed to make the connection between the pair, but we can only assume that next year's invitees list will be more carefully vetted to avoid future awkward, public rejections like this one.
[via: The Playlist]