Three times when real events defied the Oscars

Every once in a while, world events have cast a shadow that is too big to be ignored. And despite the Hollywood saying that the show should go on, in some cases real-world concerns have intruded on the party in such a way that the organizers have to change its schedule, including delay last year due to a global pandemic.

The war in Ukraine has dominated the news circles and elicited statements of solidarity from members of the film and television industry in the run-up to the Oscars. Over the years, politics and the Academy Awards went hand in hand, and war was often part of the background, from World War II – when actual statues were made of plaster due to a lack of minerals – to Vietnam, a turbulent period that on various occasions extended to broadcasting.

However, three events stand out in particular during the television era: the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968, the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981, and the start of the Iraq War in 2003.

In the first two cases, the awards were postponed briefly, and there was discussion about doing so in 2003. (The Oscars were postponed again due to the floods in 1938.)

A look back at each of these events, and their impact on the ceremony.

1968: Assassination of the King

The killing of the civil rights icon on April 4 came days before the ceremony, and several of them are scheduled to perform or attend — including Sidney PoitiersAnd Louis Armstrong and Diahann Carroll – they plan to attend King’s funeral on April 9, the day after the broadcast. (Poitier starred in two of that year’s Best Picture nominees, “In the Heat of the Night” and “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner.”)

Since there was no way they could get there in time, the academy postponed the ceremony from April 8 to April 10 and canceled the governors ball. The organization’s then-president, Gregory Peck, began television broadcasts honoring King.

1981: Reagan murdered

Johnny Carson, host of the 1981 Academy Awards, addressed the attempted assassination of then-President Reagan during the opening telecast.

Reagan was actually scheduled to open the ceremony with a segment taped at the White House on the global reach of the Oscars and movies. Many in attendance were especially shaken by the awards, having known Reagan since he was an actor and president of the Screen Actors Guild.

The producers rushed and eventually decided to postpone the awards by a day (Johnny Carson was the host that year), with veteran writer Buzz Cohan, who worked on the show, Remember after 25 years To The Hollywood Reporter, “Strangely enough, Reagan himself set the tone by saying to the doctors in the operating room, ‘Please tell me you’re all Republicans.’ We figured out if the guy who got shot could joke it, he gave us permission to do the same.” .

“The adage ‘the show should go on’ seems to be relatively unimportant,” Carson said in the telecast opening, noting that the president was in ‘excellent condition’ and that the producers were using his taped introduction,’ which they did.

“A movie lasts forever,” Reagan said, echoing the theme of the show that year, adding to laughter, “I’ve lived in some forever movies.”

2003: Invasion of Iraq

Michael Moore denounced the US invasion of Iraq while accepting the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 2003 Academy Awards.
United State conquered Iraq Days before the broadcast, which sparked a debate about whether the awards should be postponed. On the eve of the awards, Oscar producer Gil Keats For the Los Angeles Times“Out of the 11 shows I’ve produced, this was the hardest I’ve ever done.”

The Times described the days leading up to the awards ceremony as “one of the strangest and most stressful weeks in the history of the Oscars.” The show went on, but the red carpet was decimated with makeshift stands for fans to watch the stars arrive.

Additional controversy occurred during the show when Michael Moore accepted the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature for “Bowling for Columbine.” Moore denounced the war, calling President George W. Bush a “fictitious president” and saying, “Shame on you, Mr. Bush,” drawing boos from the audience and pushing the director off the stage.

Fifteen years later, Moore received a lifetime honor at the Critics’ Choice Documentary Awards, taking the opportunity to finish talkingwho closed with him encouraged people to “pick up the camera and fight the force, make your voice heard and stop this absurd war.”

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