As 2022 Oscars Approach, Actors Demand Awards Show Be Politicized in Favor of Ukraine

© AP Photo / Chris PizzelloOscar statues stand off of Hollywood Boulevard in preparation for Sunday's 92nd Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, in Los Angeles
Oscar statues stand off of Hollywood Boulevard in preparation for Sunday's 92nd Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020, in Los Angeles - Sputnik International, 1920, 27.03.2022
With the The Academy Awards ceremony set for Sunday night, Hollywood is abuzz with speculation over not just who’ll win and who’ll lose, but who’ll show up–and who won’t.
The 94th Academy Awards are scheduled to begin Sunday at 8 pm EST, and they’re set to return to their full glory at Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre after a subdued 2021 when festivities were toned down amid the covid pandemic.
Among this year’s favorites for Best Picture are "Belfast," "Dune," "King Richard," "Don't Look Up," "The Power of the Dog" and "Drive My Car." Emcee duties will be shared by what Yahoo called a trio of “very funny women” consisting of Regina Hall, Amy Schumer and Wanda Sykes. While at this point Hollywood would usually be dominated with discussions on potential winners, this year, such conversations have largely been overshadowed.
The Oscars have been sliding in terms of viewership for years, and in 2021 the awards show received its lowest ratings of all time. Producers have reportedly cooked up a number of gimmicks to bring audiences back, including unveiling an "Oscars Fan Favorite" category that’s slated to be awarded to the film which garners the most votes online–an apparent nod to “Spider-Man: No Way Home.”
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And in what Yahoo says is “highly, highly likely a directive from ABC to shorten its ceremony,” Academy Awards organizers announced ‘the presentations of eight of its 23 awards would be pre-taped and not aired live,’ a move which led to an outraged open letter signed by 17 Academy Awards and was rejected by figures including Steven Spielberg, Patton Oswalt.
Among the various ratings-driven Oscars decisions that meet with elite indignation, one, in particular, stands out. On Friday, the New York Post reported “Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky has been in talks with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to make a video appearance” at the upcoming Oscars. However, Actor Sean Penn told CNN’s Jim Costa Saturday that he believed the decision “has been made not to do it.”
If it turns out to be the case that Oscars organizers decline to offer the leader of the Ukrainian regime an influential platform to whip up anti-Russian sentiment, Penn urged his colleagues to “protest and to boycott the Academy Awards” and promised to “smelt” Oscars he won for his roles in 2003's “Mystic River” and 2008's “Milk.”
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Apparently unaware of the Red Scare of the late 1940s and 1950s, which saw Hollywood blacklists destroy the careers of dozens of actors and others dragged in front of the notorious House Un-American Activities committee, Penn said that if Zelensky is denied the opportunity to push war with Russia before an American audience, it “will have been the most obscene moment in all of Hollywood history.”
Should the Oscars ultimately elect to politicize the broadcast in favor of US foreign policy goals, there’s a clear precedent. At the 2008 Academy Awards, rapper Common performed alongside Bana Al-Abed, a young Syrian child who became famous on social media after being used by her parents to generate sympathy for regions of Syria which were held at the time by jihadists including Da’esh*.
*Da'esh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist organization outlawed in Russia
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