Governors Awards: Academy to Scale Back Red Carpet in Aftermath of California Fires

On their way into the Academy's second-biggest ceremony of the year, celebrities will still pose for photos, but will not grant on-camera interviews.
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Sally Hawkins and Guillermo del Toro at the 2017 Governors Awards

Out of respect for the victims of the wildfires that have plagued California this month, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to significantly pare down the red carpet leading into its Governors Awards ceremony, the organization's second-biggest night of the year, which is taking place Sunday, The Hollywood Reporter has learned.

At the Governors Awards, which are held within the Hollywood and Highland Center, a shopping mall and entertainment complex, the Academy presents special awards such as honorary Oscars, the Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award and the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. This year, publicist Marvin Levy, composer Lalo Schifrin and actress Cicely Tyson will receive honorary Oscars, while producers Kathleen Kennedy and Frank Marshall will share the Thalberg.

The ceremony is usually preceded by a red carpet at which the honorees and a host of other celebrities — many of whom are vying for competitive Oscars as awards season unfurls — pose for photos in front of step-and-repeat locations, marked with the Academy's logo, and answer on-camera questions from the press. This year, interview opportunities are being scrapped.

"In light of the tragic wildfires burning through California, we have decided to scale back our red carpet at the Governors Awards this year, making it exclusively photos only," the Academy said Friday in a statement to crews. "The dinner and ceremony will continue in order to honor the achievements of these artists and filmmakers that are so deserving. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause for your coverage planning and hope to see you at the next Academy event."

The Academy has never canceled a Governors Awards ceremony, but has postponed Oscar ceremonies three times — in 1938, the ceremony was delayed a week because of flooding; in 1968, it was postponed two days in the aftermath of the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.; and in 1981, it was postponed for one day in the aftermath of the attempted assassination of Ronald Reagan. More frequently, the organization has made gestures of sympathy during times of crisis, such as temporarily employing plaster statuettes and permanently scrapping the dinner-and-dancing portion of Oscar night during World War II.

President Donald Trump is scheduled to visit California fire sites on Saturday to meet with survivors and first responders.