oscars 2024

Gaza Cease-fire Protest Delays Oscars

Protesters gather during a demonstration in support of Palestinians calling for a cease-fire in Gaza as the 96th Academy Awards Oscars ceremony is held nearby, Sunday, March 10, 2024, in Hollywood. Photo: Etienne Laurent/AP

The fight for a cease-fire in Gaza and an end to the ongoing humanitarian crisis was top of mind at Sunday’s 2024 Oscars, both on the lapels of a handful of celebrities on the red carpet and on the streets of Los Angeles. Pro-Palestine protesters in the hundreds reportedly blocked traffic on Highland Avenue, delaying some high-profile attendees of the 96th Academy Awards. If you happened to notice that the Oscars telecast was delayed by six whole minutes, it wasn’t just an ABC production assistant forgetting to press the “start” button.

Per the New York Times, protesters chanting “cease-fire now” and “long live Palestine” and touting signs reading “Free Palestine” made their way down the main Hollywood street, trapping some celebrities expected at the red carpet in their Town Cars. The group then made their way down Sunset Boulevard, to the tune of honking cars and helicopters hovering overhead, as LAPD officers in riot gear gathered nearby. The Hollywood Reporter noted that by the time the group reached the intersection of Sunset and Highland, traffic had come to a “complete standstill” for over 20 minutes. With police surrounding the area, some attendees got out of their cars and began walking toward the ceremony, THR added, while the Academy gave others rides to the event in golf carts. The Times reports that a smaller group of protesters also gathered closer to the Dolby Theatre, where the ceremony was taking place.

“With people from across the globe watching the Academy Awards, this is a Hail Mary opportunity,” Anthony Bryson, an organizer of one of the protests, told the Times. “What’s happening in Gaza needs to have attention drawn to it. We wanted to bring as much resistance and visibility as possible.”

“I’m heartbroken to know that our hard-earned tax dollars are going to pay for the murder of innocent civilians,” added Laura Delhauer, a filmmaker who hoped the protest would put pressure on the government to enact a cease-fire.

“There will be no awards amid a genocide,” Film Workers for Palestine and SAG-AFTRA Members for Ceasefire — the groups responsible for Sunday’s protests — said in a social-media post spreading awareness for the gatherings.

According to Deadline, Oscars organizers and city officials were reportedly briefed on the planned protests, and had plans in place to ensure the evening’s celebrity guests would be able to walk the carpet uninterrupted. The Academy told the outlet it had “no comment” in regard to the protests.

“We are well aware of the protesters. We have a number of backup scenarios we can activate quickly if needed,” a senior security official contracted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences told Deadline. “Working with our partners in the LAPD, we anticipate no problems or delays for our guests and nominees.”

Gaza Cease-fire Protest Delays Oscars