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Organizers of Sunday’s 95th Academy Awards are preparing for the unexpected after Will Smith’s infamous attack on Chris Rock at Hollywood’s biggest awards ceremony last year. For the first time, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has created a crisis team to respond to any irregularities.
“It’s our hope that we’ll be ready for anything,” University President Bill Kramer told Time magazine in a recent interview. “Because of last year, we’ve opened our minds to a lot of things that can happen at the Oscars.”
The film academy was heavily criticized for allowing Smith to be in the audience, and win the best actress award, after Rock attacked the stage over a joke about Smith’s wife, Jada Pinkett Smith.
The organization has not disclosed details about the membership of the crisis team or how it may react to anything. Smith will not be in attendance. He was banned from attending the event for 10 years.
At a February luncheon for the nominees, University President Janet Yang said the group learned that it must act “quickly, compassionately and decisively” in times of crisis, and “it should and can be expected not to there is less to go on.”
Security is tight at the Dolby Theater where the ceremony is held. Law enforcement cordoned off several blocks around the theater and red carpet.
Show producers Glenn Weiss and Ricky Kirshner said they hope to keep the spotlight this season on the year’s top films and the people who brought them to life. “I don’t think anyone is really looking to sing too much about what happened in the past,” Weiss said.
The show will air on Walt Disney Co.’s ABC network.
In a departure from recent years when the Academy has chosen many little-seen films, the field of best picture candidates shows many of the biggest box office hits of 2022. They include Avatar: The Last Airbender , Top Gun: Maverick, Elvis and Everything Here at Once.
“We’re there to entertain, and to show great movies this year, many of which people have seen, which is great for us,” Kirshner said.
Like other award shows, the Oscars have lost viewers in recent years, especially among young people glued to social media. Weiss said the team plans to pepper the show with moments they hope will go viral on Twitter and TikTok.
Superstar Rihanna will sing her favorite song “Lift Me Up” from Wakanda Forever. Stephanie Hsu, David Byrne and the band Lux will perform “This Is Life” from Everything Everywhere.
“Naatu Naatu” singers Rahul Sipligunj and Kaala Bhairava will also appear with their songs from the Indian drama film RRR.
Comedian Jimmy Kimmel, who helped navigate the 2017 mix-up when the wrong picture winner was announced, will return to host this year’s ceremony.
A promo for the show described Kimmel as “unloving and dishonorable.”