Roman Polanski is a Polish and French film director, producer, screenwriter, and actor. He won an Oscar for Best Director in 2003 but could not attend the event. But did you know who flew to Europe just to give him his award?
Due to outstanding criminal charges, Harrison Ford received Roman Polanski’s Award for him in the 2003 Academy Awards. He then flew all the way to France to hand the director his Oscar.
Why Did Roman Polanski Not Attend the Oscars?
After being nominated for Best Director in his film The Pianist, Roman Polanski confirmed that he would not be attending the Academy Awards. Polanski has been in self-imposed exile from the United States since 1977, and he fled the country right after being arrested in California after a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old girl.
He has no plans to come to the Unites States. He lives in Europe, and his home is there, and the legal issues are unresolved, and he has no plans for returning.Jeff Berg, Polanski’s Spokesperson
According to the authorities in the United States, they have the right to arrest him if he ever entered the country. Because of this, he was not able to attend the award show, but Harrison Ford hand-delivered his Oscar to him in France. (Source: The Guardian)
Was Roman Polanski Guilty?
On March 10, 1977, at the age of 43, Roman Polanski was arrested and charged in California with six offenses against Samantha Geimer, who was only 13 at the time. He was charged for rape by the use of drugs, perversion, sodomy, lewd and lascivious act upon a child under 14, and furnishing a controlled substance to a minor.
Polanski pleaded not guilty at his arraignment but later accepted a plea deal with terms that included the dismissal of the five charges in exchange for a guilty plea and a lesser charge; unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor.
The director went through the court-mandated psychiatric evaluation and was placed on probation. But when he learned that he was to be sentenced to jail and eventually be deported, Polanski became a fugitive and fled to London and then France by 1978, just hours before he was officially sentenced.
In 2018, Samantha Geimer, who is now married, gave her thoughts on the case:
By the end of the trial, the presiding Judge seemed completely unhinged and certainly had no concern for me. He wante me on the stand to aggravate media interest, and when he couldn’t get that, he started to take it out on the defendant. The judicial process broke down entirely and there was no way to trust him or two know what he might do next. I was relieved that Polanski left and the court had no way to torment me anymore. What most people don’t know is that I was also put on a plant and sent out of state to hinder the Judge’s plans to see me testify in the so-called trial of the century. Polanski and I deserve a fair justice system as much and anyone wlse does. Forty one yers later, we are still denied it because each new DA and every Judge wants something for themselves.Samantha, Geimer.
Geimer wrote a book about the whole ordeal called; The Girl A Life in the Shadow of Roman. It was published in 2013. (Source: The Guardian)