The Oscars’ fleeting tribute to Ukraine was just a series of written text

A shelf of Oscars statuettes
Oscar statuettes sit on display backstage at the 2022 Academy Awards in Hollywood.
(Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)

The Oscars telecast observed a moment of silence Sunday in solidarity with Ukraine as Russian forces continue to invade the country.

“We’d like to have a moment of silence to show our support for the people of Ukraine currently facing invasion, conflict and prejudice within their own boundaries,” a title card read midway through the program.

“While film is an important avenue for us to express our humanity in times of conflict, the reality is millions of families in Ukraine need food, medical care, clean water, and emergency services. Resources are scarce, and we — collectively as a global community — can do more.”


A third slide then asked viewers to “support Ukraine in any way you are able” while sharing the hashtag #StandWithUkraine. Immediately after the Oscars’ statement appeared, a ad said the company would be matching donations to “alleviate the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.”’

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In a red-carpet interview with Variety, Oscars producer Will Packer confirmed that the show would acknowledge the war in Ukraine, which has been under attack since late February.

“A night like tonight — it is about fun. It is about revelry, but we are so grateful ... to be able to even put on a night like this,” Packer told Variety ahead of the show.

“So we certainly are going to have an acknowledgement of the tumultuous times that we’re in right now and the people of Ukraine, so when you watch you’ll see.”

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Also on the red carpet, several celebrities paid homage to Ukraine by wearing blue-and-gold accents. Among the stars who showed their support outside the Dolby Theatre were Jamie Lee Curtis, Diane Warren, Jason Momoa and Yuh-Jung Youn.

Earlier this week, Oscars co-host Amy Schumer made headlines by suggesting that Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky should participate in the Oscars broadcast.


“I am not afraid to go there,” she told talk-show host Drew Barrymore, “but it’s not me producing the Oscars.”

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In a recent interview with CNN, actor Sean Penn seconded Schumer’s motion and even threatened to “smelt” his own Oscars trophies if Zelensky was not included in the show. Penn, who won Oscars for “Mystic River” and “Milk,” has been in Europe filming a documentary about Russia’s attack on Ukraine.

“There is nothing greater that the Academy Awards could do than to give Zelensky that opportunity to talk to all of us,” Penn told CNN.

In reaction to the Oscars’ moment of silence Sunday, one person tweeted, “Something tells me that’s not gonna be good enough for Sean Penn.”

“yeah that’s not enough babes,” wrote another. “people are literally being slaughtered rn and you literally chosen silence and passiveness.”

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Others questioned why actor Mila Kunis — who is of Ukrainian descent and has raised more than $35 million for Ukrainian relief along with her husband, Ashton Kutcher — did not directly mention Ukraine while presenting original song nominee “Somehow You Do” from the film “Four Good Days.”


They also wondered why the film academy has failed to show the same level of sympathy for people living in other, non-European countries that have been ravaged by war in recent years.

“Recent global events have left many of us feeling gutted,” Kunis said.

“Yet when you witness the strength and dignity of those facing such devastation, it’s impossible to not be moved by their resilience. One cannot help but be in awe of those who find strength to keep fighting through unimaginable darkness.”

See more reactions to the portion of the telecast dedicated to Ukraine below.