Oscars Start Late as Arrivals Complicated by Traffic Issues, Protests

Protestors calling for a cease-fire in Gaza blocked Hollywood Boulevard on Sunday

Oscar protest
Oscar protest (CREDIT: Taylor Eve/Twitter)

The 96th Oscars got off to a late start on Sunday with pro-Palestine protests on Hollywood Boulevard snarling traffic en route to the Dolby Theatre, where the awards ceremony is being held.

Protestors held signs and banners with messages including “Silence is violence, keep talking about Palestine” and “U.S. out of everywhere. Down with U.S. imperialism.”

TheWrap spotted ABC/Disney CEO Bob Iger and his wife, journalist Willow Bay, running from the red carpet into the ballroom just as the ceremony was starting.

Host Jimmy Kimmel began the show by quipping, “We’re already five minutes overtime.”

TheWrap film critic Tomris Laffly shared a video of traffic slowing down before a security checkpoint on Hollywood Boulevard.

Los Angeles-based reporter Samuel Braslow shared a video of pro-Palestinian protesters, many wearing keffiyehs, outside the Cinerama Dome, which is about 1.5 miles southeast of the Dolby.

Many of those walking the red carpet also signaled their support of a cease-fire by wearing red buttons on their lapels, including nominees Mark Ruffalo and Billie Eilish, as well as 2021 “Sound of Metal” Best Actor nominee Riz Ahmed.

Last Sunday, Vice President Kamala Harris called for an “immediate cease-fire” in Gaza. Her comments came after the Biden administration’s three-time refusal to back the United Nation’s resolution for a cease-fire.

Tens of thousands of Democratic voters in Michigan opted for “uncommitted” instead of Biden in their primary, a boycott designed to send a message to Biden to change his stance on Gaza.

Former “CSI: NY” actor Hill Harper, who is running for a Senate seat in Michigan, also backed the uncommitted campaign. Ahead of the Michigan primary, he said he wanted Biden to be reelected, but that “folks are suffering, folks are angry” about the continued suffering of Palestinian civilians.

Biden addressed the ongoing conflict in the Middle East during his State of the Union speech on Thursday, in which he noted the “heartbreaking” loss of life in Palestine and said, “Israel must allow more aid into Gaza,” while also urging Hamas to release the remaining hostages.

Prior to the SOTU speech, Biden announced he was directing the U.S. military “to lead an emergency mission to establish a temporary pier in the Mediterranean on the Gaza coast” to increase the level of humanitarian assistance to the area.

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