The Mercury News Weekend
Academy's `crisis team' `will be prepared for anything' at Oscars
The Oscars are ready for the next surprise outburst.
Bill Kramer, the chief executive of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, announced the addition of a “crisis team” to help manage the response to any unexpected show incidents.
“We have a whole crisis team, something we've never had before, and many plans in place,” Kramer told Time in an interview published Tuesday. “We've run many scenarios. So it is our hope that we will be prepared for anything that we may not anticipate right now but that we're planning for just in case it does happen.”
Since Will Smith hit Chris Rock after Rock made a joke about his wife, Jada Pinkett Smith, Kramer said the academy has “opened our minds to the many things that can happen at the Oscars.”
“But these crisis plans — the crisis communication teams and structures we have in place — allow us to say this is the group that we have to gather very quickly,” Kramer said. “This is how we all come together. This is the spokesperson. This will be the statement. And obviously depending on the specifics of the crisis, and let's hope something doesn't happen and we never have to use these, but we already have frameworks in place that we can modify.”
Kramer credited the new team for the ability to address concerns around the surprise nomination of Andrea Riseborough. The “To Leslie” actor rode a wave of A-list celebrities endorsing her performance, leading some to question whether any awards campaign rules were broken. One week after the nominations were released, the academy said Riseborough's nomination will stand and the academy will work to refine the rules around awards campaigning.
“You know, that happened on a Tuesday, and six days later we were able to issue our formal statement from the board that really carved out a plan for us,” Kramer said. “So you never know exactly what's going to happen. But you have to have the teams and frameworks in place and the processes in place, to come together to figure things out quickly.”