Organizers of Sunday’s 95th Academy Awards are bracing for a surprise after Will Smith bashed Chris Rock at last year’s biggest Hollywood awards ceremony.
For the first time, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has established a crisis team to respond to any untoward incidents.
“We hope to be ready for everything,” Academy CEO Bill Cramer said in a recent interview with Time magazine. “Thanks to last year, we opened our minds to a lot of things that could happen at the Oscars.”
The Academy has come under fire for allowing Smith to stay in the audience and win best actor after Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett, attacked Rock on stage for a joke about Smith.
The organization did not disclose details about the members of the crisis team or how it might respond to any unusual activity. Smith is absent. He was banned from participating in the event for 10 years.
At a nominees luncheon in February, Academy President Janet Yang said the group needed to act “quickly, compassionately and boldly” in times of crisis and “going forward, we should and should expect no less.”
Security has been beefed up at the Dolby Theater, where the ceremony is taking place. Law enforcement cordoned off several blocks around the theater and the red carpet.
Show producers Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirchner said they hope this time will focus on the year’s nominated films and the people who brought them to life.
“I don’t think anyone wants to talk too much about the past,” Weiss said.
The show airs on Walt Disney Co’s ( DIS.N ) ABC network.
After years of the Academy nominating lesser-known films, the field of Best Picture nominees includes some of 2022’s biggest box office hits. These include Avatar: The Last Airbender, Top Gun: Maverick. “, “Elvis” and “All at once”.
“We’re here to have fun and show off some great movies that a lot of people have seen this year, which is great for us,” Kirchner said.
Like other awards, the Oscars have lost viewers in recent years, especially among young people glued to social media. Weiss said the team plans to supplement the show with moments they hope will spread on Twitter and TikTok.
Pop superstar Rihanna performs her song ‘Lift Me Up’ from her nominated film ‘Wakanda Forever’. Stephanie Hsu, David Byrne and Son Lux perform “This is a Life” from Everything Everywhere.
“Natuu Natuu” singers Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava are also the Indian “RRR.
Comedian Jimmy Kimmel, who helped moderate the mix-up when the 2017 blundering Best Picture winner was announced, will return to host this year’s ceremony.
In a promo for the show, Kimmel was described as “soft and untouchable.”