- Share this article on Facebook
- Share this article on Twitter
- Share this article on Email
- Show additional share options
- Share this article on Print
- Share this article on Comment
- Share this article on Whatsapp
- Share this article on Linkedin
- Share this article on Reddit
- Share this article on Pinit
- Share this article on Tumblr
After much anticipation over whether the Oscars would host a video statement from Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, the Academy Awards instead opted to hold a moment of silence Sunday night within the Dolby Theatre to show support for the people of Ukraine.
Shortly after Reba McEntire’s performance of “Somehow You Do” from the drama Four Good Days, the stage went black and words appeared across a screen reading, “We’d like to have a moment of silence to show our support for the people of Ukraine currently facing invasion, conflict and prejudice within their own borders.
“While film is an important avenue for us to express our humanity in times of conflict, the reality is millions of families in Ukraine need food, medical care, clean water and emergency services. Resources are scarce, and we — collectively as a global community — can do more. We ask you to support Ukraine in any way you are able. #StandWithUkraine”
McEntire’s performance was introduced by actress Mila Kunis, a native of Ukraine who moved to the United States when she was a child, and who has become a vocal advocate for support of Ukrainian refugees.
“In such devastation, it’s impossible not to be moved by their resilience,” Kunis, who also starred in Four Good Days, said in her introduction of McEntire. “One cannot help but be in awe of those who find strength to keep fighting through unimaginable darkness.”
Kunis and her husband, actor Ashton Kutcher, set up a GoFundMe campaign to aid refugees and humanitarian efforts. So far, it has raised over $35 million, earning the pair a personal thanks from Zelensky.
Prior to the ceremony, co-host Amy Schumer said that she had pitched a virtual appearance by Zelensky: “I wanted to find a way to have Zelensky satellite in or make a tape or something just because there are so many eyes on the Oscars,” she said during an appearance on The Drew Barrymore Show. But she added: “I am not afraid to go there, but it’s not me producing the Oscars.”
Schumer’s co-host, Wanda Sykes, later pushed back against the idea, saying during a red carpet appearance, “You know, in Hollywood, we can get a little full of ourselves and we think that what we’re doing is all so important. I understand that, yeah, what we do reaches a lot people, and we can persuade a lot of people, but it’s also [respectful] to just know your lane. You know what I’m saying? Know your lane.”
On Saturday, in an interview with CNN’s Jim Acosta, two-time Oscar winner Sean Penn (for Mystic River and Milk), said he would “smelt” his own Oscars trophies and support a boycott of the Academy Awards if Zelensky wasn’t invited for a virtual appearance at the ceremony.
Many entertainment companies have pulled back on business in Russia since the country’s invasion of Ukraine began in late February: Disney paused the release of all theatrical films in Russia including Turning Red, while Warner Bros. halted a Russian release of The Batman and Sony, Paramount and Universal all said they would stop their film’s releases in the country. Netflix suspended their service in Russia and, just on Friday, the International Emmys announced that they would bar Russian programs from competition.
The 2022 Oscars was co-hosted by Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall and was produced by Will Packer and Shayla Cowan.
Sign up for THR news straight to your inbox every day
More from The Hollywood Reporter
Sofia Film festival
Sofia Festival Director Stefan Kitanov on Showing Solidarity with Ukraine at the 2023 Fest
Film Academy’s Longtime Top New York Official Out, Members Vent on Zoom with Organization’s Leaders (Exclusive)
Producer Heather Rae Addresses Native Heritage Controversy: “For Several Years I Have Identified as an Ally” (Exclusive)