In The Know

Five political moments to watch for at the Oscars

The Academy Awards will be sans host for the first time in 30 years, but it’s unlikely to be lacking political buzz.

From Hollywood stars condemning President Trump to potential surprise Oscars cameos, the spotlight at Sunday’s 91st annual Academy Awards is likely to shine on politics more than once.

Here are five political moments to be on the look-out for on Hollywood’s biggest night.

A Trump bashing bonanza?

Hollywood award shows have been criticized for taking an increasingly political tone in recent years. Cue Robert de Niro declaring “F–k Trump” at last year’s Tony Awards, or Meryl Streep slamming the then-president-elect as a “bully” at the 2017 Golden Globes. 

While explicitly anti-Trump rhetoric mostly took a back seat at last year’s Jimmy Kimmel-hosted Oscars, it could be back in full force this year during the show beginning at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Multiple-category nominee “Vice” presents a deeply unflattering portrait of former Vice President Dick Cheney, and its cast and crew have used the subject matter to criticize today’s Republican Party as well.{mosads}

If A-listers do take a swipe at the controversial commander in chief, who will be the first entertainer to break the Trump seal and mention him by name? 

Surprise cameos

With no host — comedian Kevin Hart stepped down from the gig after homophobic tweets he wrote resurfaced last year — this year’s ceremony could be in for some surprises. 

Michelle Obama made an unannounced appearance to kick off the Grammy Awards earlier this month, and the former first lady also famously announced the winner of the “Best Picture” category at the 2013 Oscars. 

Former Trump press secretary Sean Spicer, who this week joined “Extra” as a “special D.C. correspondent,” made a much-discussed cameo at the 2017 Emmys.

Without a headliner at the helm of the broadcast, the pressure on producers could be on to secure a big-name star of Hollywood — or politics — to shake things up. 

Immigration a hot topic?

Lupita Nyong’o and Kumail Nanjiani made an impassioned plea while presenting at last year’s Oscars for members of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program. “To all the Dreamers out there, we stand with you,” Nanjiani told viewers.

The focus at this year’s ceremony may again turn to immigration, particularly if director Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” picks up an Academy Award.

Jorge Antonio Guerrero, a Mexican actor who stars in the Oscar-nominated film, reportedly obtained a last-minute U.S. visa to attend the awards show. Guerrero said in January that he had been denied entry into the country three times in the last year. According to reports, Netflix, “Roma’s” distributor, helped secure a non-immigrant visa for Guerrero by working with the U.S. Embassy in Mexico.

The film, which chronicles the life of a Mexico City family’s maid, could also draw focus onto domestic employees and conditions for the working class. 

#MeToo, part two

Time isn’t up for awards shows to promote anti-sexual harassment initiatives. 

During last year’s ceremony, the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements were front and center, with the Academy dedicating an entire segment to highlighting Hollywood’s women “trailblazers.”

The mission, advocates say, is far from over. 

With “Bohemian Rhapsody” director Bryan Singer facing allegations that that he abused underage boys, and other prominent entertainment industry figures such as singer R. Kelly — who was charged Friday with 10 counts of aggravated sexual abuse — in the news, Hollywood could very well feel compelled to address the culture and challenges it faces going forward.

Smollett under scrutiny

With the arrest of Jussie Smollett dominating the headlines and becoming the talk of Tinseltown and beyond, there’s a chance that some of the night’s presenters could bring up — or even joke about — the “Empire” star at the Oscars.

Plenty of performers and politicians — from Trump and Sens. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) and Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), to Patton Oswalt and Andy Cohen — have weighed in on Smollett, who’s facing a felony disorderly conduct charge for allegedly filing a false police report after claiming to have been the victim of a hate crime.

For Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson, who slammed Smollett at a news conference for reportedly orchestrating a “publicity stunt” to boost his “Empire” salary, a platform as big as the Oscars to address the controversy might be welcomed.

“I only hope the truth about what happened receives the same amount of attention that the hoax did,” Johnson said on Thursday at a press conference announcing the charges.

Race and racial violence are the subjects of multiple Oscar nominees this year, including “Green Book” and Spike Lee’s “BlacKkKlansman,” potentially offering winners an opening to discuss hate crimes, be they real or potentially fraudulent.

Tags Academy Awards Cory Booker Donald Trump Green Book Jussie Smollett Me Too movement Michelle Obama Oscars Roma Sean Spicer Vice

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