As if to make it clear that the sky is not that far from Earth, every year some Hollywood stars take advantage of the Oscar awards ceremony to show commitment to some cause that at that moment crosses North American society or the world in general. In recent years, it happened with the MeToo movement, with different acts of racial violence and even with the disgust that the entertainment industry felt, in large part, for the former president of that country, Donald Trump.
This year, some of the protagonists of the most important award ceremony of the year decided to echo a problem that is not new, but that during the last month has been installed in the retina of millions of people: that of refugees. The images of thousands and thousands of Ukrainians trying to flee their country in the midst of the bombings perpetrated by Russia took over the news, graphic media and, above all, social networks.
For this reason, perhaps to take advantage of this moment of “full visibility”, the UN distributed among nominees for the grand prize and guests at the ceremony a blue ribbon with the slogan #withrefugees (with refugees) that some agreed to wear on the red carpet prior to the ceremony.
The idea, as representatives of the UNHCR (United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees) explained to the media, is intended to demonstrate the difficult situation faced by refugees not only of Ukrainian origin, but also the 85 million people who are displaced from their countries, distributed throughout the world.
Anadil Hossain, UNHCR Communications Advisor, was in charge of organizing the campaign together with social impact strategy expert Bonnie Abaunza. “Some of this year’s Oscar-nominated films include some powerful stories that tackle refugee issues, displacement, the importance of home and belonging: Charm, Flee, Three Songs for Benazir, Belfast and Dune. This comes at a time when the world is witnessing the biggest refugee crisis since World War II,” Hossain explained.
And continued: “The artists wanted to show their solidarity with Ukraine and asked them to extend that support to the nearly 84 million people forced to flee their homes. While the tapes are a visible symbolic gesture, we saw this as an opportunity to convey a message about greater understanding and awareness of this global humanitarian crisis, as this year’s nominated films have done with great imagination and empathy.”.
Among the celebrities who decided to support the campaign and wear the blue ribbon are the American actress Jamie Lee Curtis, the Spanish composer Alberto Iglesias -nominated for the soundtrack of Parallel Mothers-, Italian director Paolo Sorrentino -his film It was the hand of God is nominated for best foreign film-, composer Diane Warren -her song “Somehow You Do”, from the film 4 days is also nominated – and South Korean actress Yoon Yeo-Jeong. Jason Momoa, meanwhile, decided to wear a scarf in the colors of the Ukrainian flag.
Many expected, when seeing Mila Kunis on stage, she would make some reference to the moment that Ukraine is going through. It is that beyond being a native of that country, she and her husband, Ashton Kutcher, carried out a campaign with which they managed to raise more than 20 million dollars in just a few days to help and assist war victims.
Kunis was in charge of presenting one of the songs that competed in the category for best song -precisely, the one composed by Diane Warren for 4 days, in the voice of Reba McEntire-, and became the only one to refer to the conflict on stage. Although she never named her country of origin, the actress herself expressed, “Recent events in the world left us despondent. And when we witness the strength and dignity of those facing these devastating events, it’s impossible not to be moved by their resilience. We can’t help but be amazed at those who find the strength to keep fighting in the midst of unimaginable darkness.”
In any case, the situation in Ukraine did have its space -explicitly- during the ceremony, but not in the speeches or in the presentations, but through a message that appeared on the screens of the Dolby Theater in Los Angeles: “We would like to have a minute of silence to show our support for the people of Ukraine who are 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 that millions of families in Ukraine are in need of 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 can”.
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Oscar 2022: what are the blue ribbons that some celebrities wore on the red carpet