| Protesters take to the streets outside the Oscars Photo Party for Socialism and Liberation | MR Online Protesters take to the streets outside the Oscars (Photo: Party for Socialism and Liberation)

Activists push Palestine to the front line of the Oscars

Originally published: Peoples Dispatch on March 11, 2024 (more by Peoples Dispatch)  |

“The Palestinian protests shut down the Oscars tonight!” shouted actor and activist Mark Ruffalo on the red carpet, on the way to the 2024 Academy Awards ceremony on the night of March 10. “Humanity wins!” he said, raising his fist.

Indeed, right outside where A-list celebrities were gathered for Hollywood’s most important awards ceremony, a massive crowd was taking to the streets of Los Angeles, shouting “while you’re watching, bombs are dropping!” and holding banners with slogans such as “No awards for genocide.”

The demonstration successfully shut down traffic in Los Angeles on Sunset Boulevard, delaying the arrival of many celebrities to Hollywood’s biggest night. Even the broadcast of the event began five minutes late.

As Variety wrote,

Executives, such as Bob Iger, waited an hour to walk the red carpet due to the traffic jam. Some people abandoned their black-tie attire and high heels to walk uphill from Sunset Boulevard to the Dolby Theatre. Production staffers sent golf carts to transport attendees waiting in SUVs; the Dolby Theater may need to rely on seat fillers until attendees can get inside.

A heavy police presence could be seen on the Oscars red carpet in response to protests.

Videos circulated on social media showed celebrities ditching cars and walking to the ceremony, having to wade through crowds shouting “ceasefire now!”

The demonstration was organized by Jewish Voice for Peace, as well as organizations of Hollywood workers, including Film Workers For Palestine and SAG-AFTRA Members for Ceasefire. SAG-AFTRA went on strike last year, and amid the increase in union militancy, workers within the union have been pushing for leadership to join other major unions in calling for a ceasefire in Israel’s war on Gaza.

Within the Oscars themselves, several artists used the enormous platform that the ceremony provided to amplify the Palestinian cause. French actors Milo Machado-Graner and Swann Arlaud wore Palestinian flag pins. “The Zone of Interest” director Jonathan Glazer made one of the most powerful statements in support of Palestine of the night. In accepting the award for Best International Film, he said on stage,

Our film shows where dehumanization leads at its worst. It shaped all of our past and present. Right now, we stand here as men who refute their Jewishness and the Holocaust being hijacked by an occupation which has led to conflict for so many innocent people.

As of this writing, Glazer’s speech is still missing from the official Oscars YouTube channel, where many other award acceptance speeches have been uploaded thus far.

Mark Ruffalo and Jonathan Glazer were not the only artists who brought Palestine to the forefront of the Oscars from within the ceremony itself. Several artists, including musicians Billie Eilish and Phoebe Bridgers, director Ava DuVernay, and actors Eugene Lee Yang, Ramy Youssef, Quannah Chasinghorse, Mark Ruffalo, and Mahershala Ali, amplified the call of the “Artists4Ceasefire” formation by wearing pins calling for a ceasefire. In October, several prominent artists signed a letter urging Biden to call for a ceasefire. Signatories include top celebrities Jennifer Lopez, Ayo Edebiri, and Bradley Cooper, among hundreds of others.

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