Big Issues

The Outside World Is Creeping Into The Oscars

2024 oscars 96th academy awards Palestine pins

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The Oscars are considered the most important night in Hollywood, capturing the world’s attention as we celebrate the biggest films of the year. Usually, awards shows occur in their own bubbles, ignoring the outside world as we “Ooh” and “Ahh” at the pretty dresses and dazzling smiles. But this year, at the 96th Annual Academy Awards, the fourth wall has been broken and some celebrities are bringing the outside world into the ceremony. 

Political activism isn’t a new phenomenon at the Oscars. In fact there’s been a long history of those in the industry using the time to speak up for various issues. And what’s currently happening in the Middle East is too big to ignore. Israel’s complete bombardment of Gaza has caused international outcry, pushing Palestinians to the brink of famine

There has even been speculation that Israel would launch its long-threatened, and widely condemned, ground offensive of the “safe zone” Rafah on the same day as the Academy AwardsThis theory has been propelled by the fact that Israel appeared to coordinate its bombing of Rafah with the Super Bowl last month. 

But some of the celebrities on the red carpet at this year’s Oscars aren’t letting us forget what’s happening to the Palestinian people. Stars like Ramy Youssef, Billie Eilish, Finneas O’Connell, Mark Ruffalo, Mahershala Ali, Riz Ahmed, Kaouther Ben Hania, Paul Garnes, Nadim Cheikhrouha, Ava DuVernay, Misan Harriman, and Eugene Lee Yang all wore an Artists4Ceasefire pin. Artists4Ceasefire calls for “an immediate de-escalation and ceasefire in Gaza and Israel before another life is lost”. Anatomy of a Fall actors Milo Macadho-Garner and Swann Arlaud went one step further and wore the Palestinian flag. It’s a bold but incredibly important touch considering the Palestinian flag has become a symbol of peace and solidarity for some, while others see it differently

They weren’t the only ones drawing attention towards Palestine — pro-Palestinian protesters have marched towards the Dolby Theatre where the 2024 Oscars are taking place. 

Pro-Palestinian pins weren’t the only other political gestures people made on the red carpet. Marvel Studios founder Avi Arda wore a yellow ribbon from the Bring Them Home organisation, which seeks to bring home the remaining Israeli hostages held by Hamas. 

Troy Quane, Nimona director, wore a touching “Protect Trans Kids” pin. For context, in the US alone, 522 anti-trans bills have been introduced for consideration with 10 already passing in 2024. Napoleon costume designer Dave Crossman wore a “Pay Equity Now” pin. 

Some might say that wearing a pin is just virtue signalling, but while it may not go far enough to support the people of Palestine, trans people or push for true pay equity, it’s more than nothing. These awards are broadcast to the world and seeing these statements show us that we can celebrate movies while also remembering that there are people suffering.

Ky is a proud Kamilaroi and Dharug person and writer at Junkee. Follow them on Instagram or on X.

Image: Getty