Advertisement

Will political protests disrupt the Academy Awards? The LAPD is prepared to prevent that

Los Angeles, CA, Friday, March 8, 2024 - Final preparations continue for the Academy Awards ceremony in and around Dolby Theater. Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)
Final preparations continue for the Academy Awards ceremony in and around Dolby Theater. The LAPD is preparing to prevent any protests that may take place Sunday night. (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times)

The Los Angeles Police Department said Friday it would increase security outside the Academy Awards on Sunday in expectation of protests, blockades and other attempts to disrupt the ceremony.

Police said they would be ready for any protest that could unfold outside the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, where the 96th Academy Awards will take place. "The LAPD is preparing for all potential protests, including protests regarding the Israel-Hamas conflict," the department said in a statement.

The Academy Awards will have roughly 2,000 security officers on hand, and LAPD officers will also step up their presence to "prevent disruptions by demonstrators, ensuring a focus on the celebration of cinematic achievements," the department said in a statement.

The LAPD will attempt to communicate with protesters to make sure activists can exercise their 1st Amendment rights without disrupting the awards ceremony, according to a statement from LAPD Cmdr. Randy Goddard, who is leading the department's security around the event. The LAPD will also manage any potential blockades around the venue to make sure that guests can safely enter the venue.

"Officers are working closely with event organizers and security agencies, implementing comprehensive measures to ensure a safe Oscars experience for all," Goddard said in his statement.

Read more: How to watch the 2024 Oscars ceremony and red carpet

Over the years, the Oscars have seen several moments that veered toward political protest, but rarely resulted in any acts that disrupted the ceremony.

In 1978, Vanessa Redgrave won an Oscar in the supporting actress category for her portrayal of an anti-Nazi activist in “Julia.” She produced a pro-Palestinian TV documentary that she defended during her acceptance speech, which drew audible boos from the audience.

In 2003, documentarian Michael Moore also elicited boos when he accepted the Oscar for his film "Bowling for Columbine” in the feature documentary category. Moore criticized then-President George W. Bush for the Iraq war, which had started just days before the ceremony. He called Bush a “fictitious president” and added, “Shame on you!”

In the past few months, protests surrounding the war in Gaza have spilled out into the streets and onto freeways. Large crowds have marched across Los Angeles — and the globe —-following the Oct. 7 attack by Hamas against Israel.

Rowdy protesters calling for a cease-fire in Gaza ended Rep. Adam B. Schiff’s victory speech on election night in Hollywood. Activists covered in fake blood have wailed during city council meetings in Ojai in recent months, and many more have followed President Biden during his campaign stops across the country.

Sign up for Essential California for news, features and recommendations from the L.A. Times and beyond in your inbox six days a week.

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.