Oscars Set Plans To Prevent Protesters Disrupting Red Carpet & Ceremony On Sunday; “LAPD Is Bolstering Security,” Cops Say

EXCLUSIVE: Planned protests to disrupt the 96th Academy Awards on Sunday could find themselves thwarted by Oscar organizers’ contingency plans.

“We are well aware of the protesters, we have a number of back-up scenarios we can activate quickly if needed,” a senior security official working for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said of the anti-Gaza War demonstrators expected to converge around Hollywood and Highland tomorrow afternoon.

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“Working with our partners in the LAPD, we anticipate no problems or delays for our guests and nominees,” the official added, looking around the fenced and already heavily guarded perimeter surrounding the Dolby Theatre on Saturday afternoon as crews hurried to get everything ready for Sunday’s show.

Proclaiming “no awards during a genocide” and a collation of pro-Palestine and pro-ceasefire groups are scheduled to meet up Sunday at the site of the now shuttered Cinerama Dome on Sunset Blvd at 1 p.m. PT. “We will not let people turn away from the atrocities in Gaza. We are taking action and making sure Palestine will NOT be ignored for some glitz and glam,” Film Workers for Palestine and SAG-AFTRA for Ceasefire stated earlier this week ahead of their self-described “Action on Oscars Sunday.”

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Specifics of the organizers’ game plan to stop protestors from snagging the spotlight at the March 10 Oscars are being kept under lock and key. However, it is Deadline’s understanding that the intention is to keep arriving attendees far away from the protesters flooding the streets. With the ABC-broadcasted ceremony kicking off an hour early this year, at 4 p.m. PT, the goal of organizers is to also make sure nominees, presenters and guests have the opportunity to walk the tented red carpet.

Contacted by Deadline, the Academy said Saturday it had “no comment” on protesters or security arrangements.

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However, out in force on the streets and behind the scenes of the Oscars with Homeland Security and other law enforcement agencies, the LAPD this weekend did shed some light on how tight security will be on Sunday.

“Officers are working closely with event organizers and security agencies, implementing comprehensive measures to ensure a safe Oscars experience for all,” LAPD Commander Randy Goddard said of the police’s role.

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“LAPD is bolstering security to prevent disruptions by demonstrators,” Cmdr. Goddard added. “LAPD will ensure the safe arrival and entry of guests into the Oscars venue, alongside maintaining a secure environment for the event,” he noted, also remarking the department will be in discussions with planned protestors to make sure their right to assemble and dissent is respected.

With the mantra of “While You’re Watching, Bombs Are Dropping,” the protestors are anticipated to attempt to march through Hollywood from the Cinerama Dome to the site of the Oscars, I’m told. If that march does occur, protesters can expect to be meet by barriers, fences and a more than 1,000-strong collection of LAPD officers, AMPAS security and others, sources say.

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Similar to numerous past protests since Israel responded late last year with continuous punishing force for the murderous and bloody attacks of October 7 by Hamas, the gathering tomorrow wants to pull focus from the Jimmy Kimmel-hosted ceremony on what is also the first full day of the Muslim month of Ramadan.

“We will not be distracted by the entertainment industry,” the coalition of protest groups said on social media in the last 24 hours ahead of Sunday’s action. “We WILL continue to call for a permanent ceasefire and Palestinian liberation. Let’s mobilize and take the streets to show that we refuse to look away from this ongoing genocide! Ceasefire NOW!”

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Street closures leading up to Sunday’s Oscars have seen Hollywood Boulevard from La Brea to Wilcox fully blocked off as of tonight. In fairly standard security procedures for the Academy Awards, adjacent streets like Hawthorn Avenue and Orange Drive are also going into lockdown.

Ceasefire and hostage-release negotiations are continuing today and could go down to the wire between the Biden administration, Israel, Hamas and moderate Arab states. At the same time, the U.S. and its allies are preparing to build a pier to service getting humanitarian aid directly to decimated Gaza from the sea, as was official announced by President Joe Biden during this week’s State of the Union speech.

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While Biden, VP Kamala Harris and others are now also calling for a ceasefire in the turbulent region, air drops of aid and supplies into Gaza went on for a fifth straight day Saturday. Even with the widespread suffering and the death of tens of thousands of Palestinians since October, Israel has said the IDF will soon commence deeper military moves into the southern Gaza city of Rafah on the border with Egypt. More than 1 million Palestinian refugees are sheltering in Rafah after being told to leave or flee the northern part of the territory over the last five months.

Additionally, the past five months has seen protestors heckle Biden at public and campaign events, hit various awards shows, and the New Year’s Eve ball-drop in NYC, among a number of high-profile events. Most recently, pro-Palestinian protesters cut short leading California Senate Adam Schiff’s primary victory party on March 5 in Hollywood.

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It is avoiding such turmoil that has become one of the top priorities of  Academy Awards organizers before invited guests and nominees are in their seats at the Dolby.

“This is an industry built on always having a Plan B,” an individual connected to Sunday’s Oscars told Deadline. “Everyone has a right to protest, of course, but the show must go on, as they say.”

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