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What Happens If You Resign From the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences?

Ellen Gutoskey
This guy won't come take your Oscar away.
This guy won't come take your Oscar away. / Rodin Eckenroth/Getty Images
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If you’re a casual movie viewer with no Hollywood affiliation, the extent of your knowledge about the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) may be something like this: It’s the organization behind the Academy Awards, a.k.a. the Oscars.

And even if you tune into the awards ceremony each year, you might not spend much (or any) time thinking about what it means to be a member of the Academy. But when Will Smith resigned from the Academy after smacking Chris Rock onstage during the most recent Oscars telecast, interest in those specifics increased among the general population. So here are all your questions about Academy resignations, answered.

Do You Get to Keep Your Oscars?

Yes. As Variety reports, resigning from the Academy doesn’t mean you have to surrender your statuettes. In fact, even people who were expelled from the Academy—including Roman Polanski and Harvey Weinstein—have been allowed to keep their awards.

Can You Be Nominated for Future Oscars?

Also yes. You don’t need to be part of the Academy to be nominated for an Oscar. Many nominees do go on to become members, because the Academy automatically considers admitting them. Everyone else hoping to become a member “must be sponsored by two Academy members from the branch to which the candidate seeks admission,” according to AMPAS guidelines.

Can You Attend Future Oscar Ceremonies?

Yes. You could potentially score an invitation to a future Oscars ceremony.

Can You Vote for the Oscars?

No. Basically, if you resign from the Academy, you’re relinquishing all the duties and perks that go along with being a member—just like you would if you quit any other club. You can’t take part in the Oscars nomination process or final voting; you can’t attend Academy-hosted screenings for films; you can’t sponsor other people for membership; and so forth.

But you’re not banned by default from activities that non-members can do, like getting nominated for awards or attending awards ceremonies. If you resigned because of a particular transgression that the Academy is investigating—as is the case with Smith—it could opt to revoke some of those privileges. But if it does, it’s not the result of your resignation; it’s the result of the incident that made you decide to resign.

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