Pro­duc­ers can’t keep pol­i­tics from edg­ing into Os­car show

The Mercury (Pottstown, PA) - - YOUR DAILY BREAK - By Sandy Co­hen

BEV­ERLY HILLS >> Meryl Streep ush­ered pol­i­tics into Hol­ly­wood’s awards sea­son when she used her Golden Globes ac­cep­tance speech to con­demn Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump for what she called his “in­stinct to hu­mil­i­ate.” Stars were even more out­spo­ken at the Screen Ac­tors Guild Awards, held just days af­ter Trump’s travel ban caused havoc at air­ports across the coun­try. Even last week’s per­for­mance heavy Grammy Awards had a po­lit­i­cal edge when mem­bers of A Tribe Called Quest raised their fists and Q-Tip re­peated a call to “Re­sist.”

The Feb. 26 Acad­emy Awards are the fi­nal stop of the in­dus­try’s an­nual two months of self-adu­la­tion, and while show pro­duc­ers aren’t plan­ning any po­lit­i­cal con­tent, the night’s win­ners might be. As much as first-time Os­car tele­cast pro­duc­ers Michael De Luca and Jen­nifer Todd may want their show to fo­cus on the magic of the movies, they say they sup­port any mes­sage spo­ken from the heart, even if it means turn­ing the Os­car podium into a po­lit­i­cal pul­pit.

“The show has to stand be­hind the free ex­change of ideas,” De Luca said in a re­cent in­ter­view. “I do be­lieve a lit­tle bit in the fa­mous Sam Gold­wyn quote about movies: ‘If you want to send a mes­sage, call Western Union.’ And there’s a school of thought that says peo­ple are tuning in to cel­e­brate the sto­ry­telling that’s moved them, and should we limit what we say to a cel­e­bra­tion of that?”

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