Breaking News
More () »

Academy is 'prepared for anything' with new 'crisis team' at Oscars

With a real-time crisis team at hand, the Academy hopes to move past “the slap” of last year’s ceremony.
Credit: Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP
Will Smith, right, hits presenter Chris Rock on stage while presenting the award for best documentary feature at the Oscars on Sunday, March 27, 2022, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello)

WASHINGTON — For the first time in its 95 years, the Oscars will enlist the help of a "crisis team."

Chief Executive of the Academy of Motion Pictures Bill Kramer revealed the award ceremony will be "prepared for anything" with its new crisis team. The announcement comes in response to last year's infamous Oscar slap, where Will Smith slapped Chris Rock during the ceremony's telecast. 

"Things don’t always go as planned," Kramer said in a TIME magazine interview. "But we have a whole crisis team, something we’ve never had before, and many plans in place. We’ve run many scenarios."

Kramer, who took over the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences last July, told the magazine that the unexpected 2022 incident "opened our minds to that many things that can happen at the Oscars."

According to Kramer, the Academy's "crisis team" consists of communications teams able to "gather very quickly" to act as a spokesperson or issue statements. 

"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," the CEO added. 

During the Oscars luncheon on Feb. 17, Janet Yang, the Academy's president, aired her regrets about last year's response to the unexpected slap.

“I’m sure you all remember we experienced an unprecedented event at the Oscars,” Yang told a crowd that included Tom Cruise, Angela Bassett, Cate Blanchett and Steven Spielberg during her opening remarks. “What happened onstage was wholly unacceptable and the response from our organization was inadequate.”

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences did little in response to Smith storming the stage and slapping Rock during last year's telecast or in the immediate aftermath. It was nearly two weeks before its board of governors voted to ban Smith from the Oscars and all other academy events for 10 years. Smith had already preemptively resigned as an academy member.  

Yang, who was not president at the time of the incident, was interrupted by a mild round of applause, and did not elaborate further, moving on to happier topics.

The 95th annual Academy Awards are on Sunday, March 12, at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood. The ceremony is set to begin at 8 p.m. EST and be broadcast live on ABC.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Before You Leave, Check This Out