The 2017 Oscars are just around the corner, and the anticipatory buzz in Hollywood is in full swing, so what are the stars doing to celebrate the eighty-ninth annual Academy Awards ceremony?
As it turns out, Hollywood celebrities may not be doing exactly what you think for the 2017 Oscars, as the Guardian reports that instead of partying it up, some stars are opting to exercise their passion for activism by organizing and taking part in protests.
Trump Travel Ban
What are they protesting, exactly? Their planned demonstrations revolve around President Donald Trump’s policies, specifically his controversial “travel ban,” which seeks to disallow refugees and immigrants from seven Muslim-majority countries from entering the U.S. for the time being.
This policy is currently paralyzed and not in effect, as the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals blocked the executive order from continuing not too long after it was initially enforced. Thus people from those countries (Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Syria, Libya, Sudan and Yemen) are, at this time, allowed entry into the country until the Trump administration can figure out a way to get around the court’s ruling.
The United Talent Agency (UTA) is the Hollywood organization of which the members of plan to launch protests. The main reason UTA’s CEO Jeremy Zimmer decided to observe the Oscars by activism is because a filmmaker named Asghar Farhadi, who uses the group’s services, according to Zimmer, would not be able to attend the awards ceremony if President Trump’s travel ban was currently active.
However, after the immigration policy was enacted and before the Court of Appeals ruled to block it, Farhadi himself made the decision to not attend the 2017 Oscars, even if something happened (which it did) to null the ban. As such, Asghar’s absence at the Awards is a protest in itself.
When he heard about Farhadi’s position regarding the Trump travel ban, Zimmer chose to skip the glitz and glam of UTA’s yearly Oscars festivities and instead host a mass gathering in “La La Land” the Friday before the Oscars. Zimmer plans on gifting the quarter of a million dollars that would have gone to the party to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and the International Rescue Committee.
National Endowment for the Arts
These Oscars protests may also be about another one of Trump’s policies.
In mid-January, The Hill reported that Donald Trump was planning on doing away with multiple government programs, including National Endowment for the Arts (NEA), to significantly decrease government spending.
“…NEA is the independent federal agency whose funding and support gives Americans the opportunity to participate in the arts, exercise their imaginations, and develop their creative capacities.”
Sources claim that the money that drives the practice of performing arts in America comes primarily from the NEA. Hence, it’s not difficult to understand why those who have dedicated their life to the arts would be upset by the organization’s defunding.
Which Stars Will Protest?
So who might show up to this social justice activism-rich 2017 Oscars shindig? UTA’s client list includes some of the biggest names in Hollywood; not just recognizable by Americans but by people around the globe.
According to a 2014 report by Miami Herald, the stars belonging to the United Talent Agency include Angelina Jolie, Johnny Depp, Kate Beckinsale, Paul Rudd, Kirsten Dunst, Channing Tatum and Uma Thurman.
The Guardian speculates that UTA members Gwyneth Paltrow, Don Cheadle and Bryan Cranston are among the celebrities who may partake in the actual UTA protest.
Celebrities are encouraging other talent agencies to get on board by either joining UTA or creating their own political protest instead of partying for the Oscars. WME IMG, a group of which Donald Trump used to be a member of, is reportedly formulating its own activism-inspired institution centered around the idea that diversity is indicative of strength.
The 2017 Oscars will be different in that it looks as if some of the stars the awards ceremony revolves around may be turning in their dancing shoes for marching sneakers. Celebrity activism isn’t embraced by all, but it doesn’t look like they’re going to let anyone or anything stop them from spreading their political message. Is it possible these Hollywood protests could become the norm in the coming years, or are they just a side effect of America’s current president and bound to die off as soon as he’s out of office? Share your thoughts with us below.
[Featured Image by Debra Hughes/Shutterstock]