This year's Oscars are fast approaching and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences seems to still be stinging from Will Smith's infamous Chris Rock slap. To prevent that from happening again, they've mobilized a crisis team in anticipation of any unforeseen interruptions.
In a new interview with Time , Academy CEO Bill Kramer opened up about the lengths the organization is going to ensure that this year's ceremony goes smoothly. In addition to inviting Jimmy Kimmel back to host the awards show and recent news that Rihanna will follow up her Super Bowl Halftime show with a performance of her Black Panther: Wakanda Forever song "Lift Me Up," Kramer revealed that the Academy is looking to mitigate the unpredictable nature of live TV with a dedicated team that will work behind-the-scenes during the event.
“[We] have a whole crisis team, something we’ve never had before, and many plans in place,” Kramer, who was appointed CEO last summer, explained. “We’ve run many scenarios. So it is our hope that we will be prepared for anything that we may not anticipate right now but that we’re planning for just in case it does happen.”
Kramer went on to pretty much confirm that they were specifically motivated to form the crisis team because of last year's slap. And for anyone armed with Twitter fingers, they will have a dedicated communications team that will try to get out in front of any media controversy with quick statements. Kramer even point out the fact they were able to put out a formal response about For Your Consideration campaign regulations just six days after the Andrea Riseborough's contentious nomination .
Naturally, the Lydia Tár jokes write themselves. And after Ariana DeBose's recent BAFTA rap fiasco , we can only imagine that the Oscars' crisis team is at full DefCon 1 ahead of Sunday's show. On the other hand, many were quick to point out the hypocritical double standard being set by the Academy putting a full crisis team together in response to Will Smith's slap while having historic problems with race, equal representation and platforming known abusers for years now.
The Academy's Board of Governors decided to ban Will Smith for a 10 year period following the incident and apologized at the time for their failure to address it in a timely manner. “During our telecast, we did not adequately address the situation in the room. For this, we are sorry,” Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said at the time. “This was an opportunity for us to set an example for our guests, viewers and our Academy family around the world, and we fell short—unprepared for the unprecedented.”
Smith has since apologized for the slap , calling his actions "not indicative of the man I want to be” and resigned from his position in the Academy . On the other hand, Chris Rock has incorporated the slap into his own stand-up routines and reportedly said "fuck your hostage video" in reference to Smith's apology.
\u201cI want to write a movie about the Oscar Crisis Team, then have it win an Oscar, and while accepting the Oscar cause some kind of crisis the Crisis Team has to stop\u201d— Jessica Ellis (@Jessica Ellis) 1677130660
\u201cAh, the Academy's response to Andrea Riseborough's surprise Oscar nomination makes a lot more sense now. Its new "crisis team" had to justify its existence and basically invent a crisis... https://t.co/s5CeTs2YAq\u201d— Jeff Sneider (@Jeff Sneider) 1677099366
Photo via Getty/ROBYN BECK/AFP
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