Richard Gere Wasn’t Allowed to Attend the Oscars for Two Decades

Richard Gere was absent from the Oscars ceremonies from 1993 to 2013, leaving many of his fans wondering, “Why was Richard Gere banned from the Oscars?”

Fans of this prestigious event or those who love 80s and 90s movies hadn’t seen the silver-haired heartthrob on the red carpet for a full 20 years.

Richard Gere is an award-winning actor who starred in some of the greatest romantic comedies and love dramas of all time, like “Pretty Woman,” “An Officer and a Gentleman,” and “Runaway Bride.” Gere has four Golden Globe nominations and won one for Best Actor in the movie “Chicago.” That film also earned him a SAG Award, but he has never even been nominated for an Oscar.

It’s true, there are many talented actors who have never had the honor of being nominated, but in Richard Gere’s case, the reason he was never even considered is because the Academy banned him for 20 years.

Why was Richard Gere banned from the Oscars?

At the 1993 Oscars, the 65th edition, just a few years after “Pretty Woman,” Richard Gere was supposed to present the award for Best Art Direction, which went to Luciana Arrighi and Ian Whittaker for “Howards End.”

During his speech, Gere went off-script and began criticizing the Chinese government for its treatment of the people of Tibet. A long-time and vocal follower of Tibetan Buddhism, Gere had been a strong critic of Chinese leaders and their policies for years. This speech led to Gere being banned from the Oscars for 20 years and also earned him a lifetime ban from entering China.

However, he was allowed to attend the ceremony in 2003 when the film “Chicago,” in which he played lawyer Billy Flynn, was nominated and won the award for Best Picture.

He also returned to the Oscars in 2013 to present the performance of the song “Everybody Needs a Best Friend” and to present the awards for Best Original Score and Best Original Song alongside his “Chicago” co-stars Queen Latifah, Renée Zellweger, and Catherine Zeta-Jones.

Gere smiled and said, “It seems I’ve been rehabilitated. If you’re gone long enough, they forget they’ve banned you.”

Career Took a Downturn

Richard Gere struggled to land roles in major Hollywood films after 1993. As he explained, this was due to the financial ties between Hollywood and China, but he continued to act in smaller and independent films. However, after his roles in “The Dinner” and “Three Christs” in 2017, Gere disappeared from the scene for six years.

He only reappeared in 2023 in the romantic comedy “Maybe I Do,” starring alongside Diane Keaton, Susan Sarandon, and Emma Roberts. Despite the stellar cast, the film was a flop, scoring a meager 32% on Rotten Tomatoes, but it marked Gere’s return.

Now, Richard Gere fans have three new movies to look forward to. “Longing” and “The Making Of” are in early pre-production, but “Oh, Canada” is the real treat. Gere plays the older version of Leonard Fyfe, portrayed by Jacob Elordi. Elordi is currently a rising star, and there’s hope that Gere’s association with him will revive this veteran actor’s career.