Will Volodymyr Zelenskyy be at the Oscars? Academy debates turning political
Over the past 30 days, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy has made appearances on state TV, social media, and even world parliaments in his bid to end Russia's invasion. A new report claims that his next stop could now be the 94th Academy Awards, set to air on March 27, 2022. Apparently, the idea of bringing in Zelenskyy was the brainchild of host Amy Schumer, but it appears the show's producers may not yet be ready to get political.
The Ukrainian President, a former comedian, and reality TV star has turned himself into an icon as Russia's brutal invasion has raged. Despite assassination squads hunting for him in Kyiv, he has vehemently refused to abandon the city. As the war has raged on, he's not only been on the frontlines but rallied support for Ukraine with passionate pleas to world governments, through speeches made via video conference.
So far, he's likened the war to Winston Churchill when speaking to the British parliament and 9/11 when addressing the US Congress. Those fiery speeches have quickly got things moving, with aid, and weapons quickly flowing over the Polish border into Ukraine. Now it appears his next stop could be the Academy Awards, but for what is the question?
Will Zelenskyy appear at the Oscars?
On March 21, comedian and host of the 2022 event Amy Schumer revealed on 'The Drew Barrymore Show', "I actually pitched, I wanted to find a way to have Zelenskyy satellite in or make a tape or something just because there are so many eyes on the Oscars." The comedian said the idea came to her because "I think it’s a great opportunity to at least comment on a couple of things." However, even before the idea could be debated, Schumer shot it down noting, "I am not afraid to go there, but it’s not me producing the Oscars.”
However, the idea was reignited on March 25, after The New York Post reported Zelenskyy "has been in talks with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to make a video appearance." Even with days to go, it appears the idea is being heavily discussed, but so far we have no indication of which way the Academy will swing. So far, neither Zelenskyy's office, the Academy, or ABC have formally commented on The Post's claim, but the website did add that ABC was in favor of having Zelenskyy appear.
At a virtual press conference on March 24, the show's Executive Producer Will Packer did provide some insight into the debate. "This is a really (momentous) time in humankind's history, and we're very aware of that. And so you don't go into a show like this, I don't think, and not be aware of that and not find a way to respectfully acknowledge where we are and how fortunate we are to even be able to put on this show," he told reporters.
However, we do know for sure that the Academy will definitely mention Ukraine at some point. Co-host Regina Hall told reporters at the same conference that the producer's plans were "beautiful" and that "I think the audience will enjoy it." There are also reports that Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis will make an appearance at the ceremony, just under two weeks after they spoke directly to Zelenskyy about their efforts to raise funds for Ukraine.
If he does eventually appear, that could be Zelenskyy's goal. The President has been urging western governments for more financial, military, and humanitarian aid, and what better way to generate the latter than from a room full of millionaires?