What role will the Israel-Hamas war play in Hollywood’s awards season?

What role will the Israel-Hamas war play in Hollywood's awards season?

As Hollywood enters the heart of its awards season – a three-month orgy of frothy self-celebration and pop culture glamor – celebrities and their handlers find themselves facing a serious decision: What about Israel? , If anything is to be said – Hamas war.

Movie stars have become increasingly willing, even determined, to use awards shows like Sunday’s Golden Globes on CBS to draw attention to progressive causes and concerns. In recent years, winners such as Meryl Streep, Russell Crowe and Michelle Williams have addressed topics such as sexual assault, the global refugee crisis, abortion rights, Trumpism, climate change, Black Lives Matter, veganism and the Ukraine war in acceptance speeches.

Audiences on both political sides sometimes bristle at what they view as elitist discourse. But in the Los Angeles ballrooms where these trophies are awarded and such speeches are given, the reaction is usually uniform admiration. The couture-clad A-listers rise to their feet to applaud.

The Israel-Hamas war is far more complex.

Martin Kaplan, who runs the Norman Lear Center for Entertainment, says, “It’s such a treacherous subject – there’s no reaction, especially in the sound-bite noise of the red carpet, or in a breakneck acceptance speech, that offends someone. Will not do.” Media and Society at the University of Southern California. “Add alcohol into the mix, as is often the case at these awards dinners, and what could possibly go wrong?”

The reaction to the conflict has stunned Hollywood, along with many other parts of the US where there are large Jewish communities. On one side there is strong support for Israel. On the other side are those who see the Palestinian issue as Expansion of racial and social justice movements Which devastated the United States in the summer of 2020.

the stars have been removed From the movies. Agencies have abandoned clients; customers have dropped agents, Friendships have broken down, people are accusing each other of hypocrisy and betrayal.

Ahead of the Golden Globes, which is kicking off awards season with a bang, some publicists and agents are advising celebrity clients not to say anything about the Israel-Hamas war. One carelessly chosen word could ruin his hopes for an Oscar, and perhaps even his career. A longtime Hollywood publicist whose clients are in this year’s Oscar race summed up her advice on the subject by saying “run for the hills.” He said some A-list clients will walk the red carpet but skip the interview. too risky.

Others worry that the silence is itself a political message. Following the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, most Hollywood unions condemned the violence. But a leading union, the Writers Guild of America, declined to make a statement and stuck to its decision despite massive opposition from hundreds of its members.

Some major Hollywood communications firms, including Rogers & Cowan PMK and ID PR, have offered to wear yellow ribbons in support of the hostages in Gaza. They consider the effort, which is partly managed by Ashley Margolis, who runs an entertainment and fashion marketing firm called A-List, as apolitical, although some might disagree.

Melissa Zuckerman, Managing Partner of Principal, said, “Wearing a symbolic yellow ribbon to support the 136 women, children and men – both Israeli and American – who were brutally abducted by terrorists is not only powerfully humanitarian and Definitely non-controversial, but camera-ready.” the communications group said in an email.

The parade of ceremonies following the Golden Globes will include the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Independent Spirit Awards and the British Academy Film Awards, culminating with the Academy Awards on March 10. This year, the strike-delayed Emmy Awards and Governor’s Award Has also been buried in the corridor.

Most of these ceremonies come with red carpets rolled out by journalists. Mark Malkin, senior Variety editor and co-host of Official, said stars should expect to be asked about the Israel-Hamas war golden globes preshow on Sunday. “If they posted about it on Instagram or signed an open letter then it’s fair game,” he said.

It appears to also include Israeli-born actress Natalie Portman, who is nominated for “May in December.” Posted on social media Expressing fear about the Hamas attack, and Jeffrey Wright, nominated for his performance in “American Fiction”, who questioned the intelligence Israel’s retaliation. Bradley Cooper, nicknamed the “Maestro” multiple times, signed two public letters, one regarding the hostages urging them to “continue fighting for their freedom” and the other calling for an “immediate de-escalation and ceasefire”. Was called for.

Spokespeople for those nominees either declined to comment or did not respond to inquiries.

The upcoming self-congratulation-athon can certainly go off without a hitch, with celebrities speaking knowledgeably about a complex and divisive topic. But the circumstances are not in favor of Hollywood. Tone-deaf behavior in the movie business has a long, if not glorious, history.

There was the time in 2008 when Sharon Stone caused a media stir when she walked the red carpet by saying that the earthquake in China, which left 88,000 people dead or missing, was probably karma for the country’s handling of Tibet. Was. In 2022, living rooms across America were shocked when, moments after Will Smith attacked Chris Rock on the Oscars stage, guests inside the theater watched Mr. Smith deliver his tearful Best-Actor acceptance speech. After this there was a standing ovation.

At awards shows there was a fiery speech here, a political outcry there — whether it was Marlon Brando sending an activist for Native Americans to decline the 1973 Oscar for Best Actor or Vanessa Redgrave sending a message to the 1978 “Zionist hooligans.” “To condemn. However, for the most part, the stars worked on being stars, turning on the charm, and not saying anything that would alienate even a single ticket buyer.

That’s changed, and the Golden Globes have led the way.

In 2017, Ms. Streep greeted President-elect Donald J. Attacked Trump. The following year, the Globes became a de facto rally for the Time’s Up movement, with actresses wearing black to protest sexual harassment and Oprah Winfrey giving a powerful speech. In 2020, Ms Williams made an impassioned plea for abortion rights, while Mr Crow drew attention to climate change and the bushfire crisis in Australia.

Last year, the Globes gave airtime to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who gave a speech about his country’s war with Russia.

Representatives for the Globes did not respond to questions about whether this year’s show would delve into politics.

Producers who specialize in awards broadcasts say research compiled primarily from Nielsen shows that most viewers dislike it when celebrities turn a trip to the stage into a platform for political bullying. A recent producer of the Oscars said that minute-by-minute ratings analysis indicated that people turned off the television “in large numbers” when celebrities began to consider politics. They spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential metrics.

Comedian Ricky Gervais, hosting the Globes in 2020, used part of his monologue to tell Hollywood that the show was testing the public’s tolerance for mixing serious causes with awards bacchanalia.

“You are in no position to lecture the public about anything – you don’t know anything about the real world,” said Mr. Gervais, “If you win, come, accept your little prize. “Thank your agent and your God” and walk off the stage.

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