Over the years, among the tears, triumphs, and total disasters, the Academy Awards have long been a platform for political sentiment.
The celeb-packed ceremony might feel a very long way from the conflict in Ukraine, but the war will no doubt feature at this weekend’s Oscars.
Stars at last night’s Oscar Wilde awards – one of the many pre-Oscar parties that take place in LA in the run-up to the awards – certainly hope the war will be referenced.
Jamie Dornan, one of the stars of best picture nominee Belfast, told Sky News he feels it’s “important” that Ukraine features in some way.
“Given that platform, there’s so many eyes of the world watching, and that’s the right place to be talking about it.”
Stars to show ‘love and support’ to Ukraine
British screenwriter Richard Curtis said it will “be interesting how [organisers] rise to that challenge, and they should in some way”.
Filmmaker Adam McKay, nominated for Don’t Look Up, told Sky News he is “curious to see how much it pops up.”
“I have a feeling there’s going to be a lot of love and support to the people in Ukraine,” he said.
“Certainly, there’s going to be a lot of urgency about the climate, and then I think mostly people are just going to celebrate film and story.”
Read more: Our predictions for the 2022 Oscars ceremony
And, given his background in acting, could the awards show include an appearance by Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelenskyy?
Ceremony producer Will Packer hasn’t ruled it out.
When asked directly about it at a pre-awards press conference on Thursday, he said: “The show is still in process, so that’s not something we would definitively say one way or the other at this point.”
Wanda Sykes, one of three female comedians hosting the show, said producers have “something planned that we love” regarding the war in Europe.
“It’s organic, and it’s thoughtful,” she said.
‘They know the world is watching’
At the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, it is apparent some of the most impactful moments in Oscars history have been those speeches reflecting the politics of their time.
“Marlon Brando won best actor for his part in The Godfather, and he chose to respectfully decline that award and send Sacheen Littlefeather… she was cheered and booed,” Nathalie Morris, Academy Museum curator, told Sky News.
“I think people know that it’s a very well watched platform where they can talk about issues which are important to them – they know that the world is watching.”
Other stars who have used their Oscar-winning platform to make a political point include Richard Gere, who was banned from the awards after using his role as an award presenter to speak out on behalf of Tibet; Patricia Arquette, who used her winning moment to call for equality for women; and Leonardo DiCaprio, who – when he finally won an Oscar for The Revenant – pushed the climate change agenda he’s now known for, urging viewers to “not take this planet for granted”.
Crucially, the Oscars offers a stage like no other and, in such tumultuous times, this Sunday it will be impossible to separate the politics from the party.
For more on what to expect from this year’s Oscars, check out the latest episode of Backstage – the film and TV podcast from Sky News. You can watch the 94th Academy Awards on Sunday 27 March exclusively on Sky Cinema from 11pm – and follow our live blog on the Sky News website and app. For those not wanting to stay up late, you can watch again on Monday 28 at 7pm on Sky Cinema or from 10pm on Sky Showcase.