The question on a lot of people’s minds after the SAG Awards is how political are the Oscars going to be. If there was any doubt in anyone’s mind, Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs put that to rest. Addressing those gathered for the traditional luncheon, she alluded to the banned Muslim nominees, Asghar Farhadi and others, by pointing to the empty chairs:
Today we celebrate you. Your work and your achievements, but everyone knows there are some empty chairs in this room which has made Academy artists, activists. There is a struggle globally today over artistic freedom that feels more urgent than at anytime since the 1950s. Art has no borders. Art has no language and doesn’t belong to a single faith. No, the power of art is that it transcends all these things. And strong societies don’t censor art. They celebrate it.
By calling the nominees “activists”, Boone Isaacs is sanctioning political speeches at the ceremony which could make for an interesting show. Still the mood was not somber at the luncheon, and many nominees took the time to socialize. Isabelle Huppert and Michelle Williams caught up at the cocktail hour. Others did that even while taking their places for the annual class photo. More favorite moments after the jump.