Political protests to dominate tonight's Oscars
The head of the Academy Awards has told Sky News she supports stars who make political statements from the Oscars stage.
Hollywood’s biggest night is set to be dominated by the spectre of the controversial presidency of Donald Trump.
Stars have already used pre-Oscars events to promise resistance to Mr Trump’s agenda.
And Academy president Cheryl Boone Isaacs told Sky News she will not condemn stars who use the Oscars platform to make political points.
She said: “One thing we are all happy about is we have freedom of speech.
“It makes it very human, I think, because it is of the moment and no one knows what name is going to be read off the envelope so it pretty spontaneous.
“I think and I hope that those on stage will give 45 seconds of something really meaningful and touching.”
Meryl Streep set the tone for awards season assaults on Mr Trump with her condemnation of the president at the Golden Globes. He responded by calling her overrated.
A major Hollywood talent agency cancelled its traditional pre-Oscars party and instead held a “unity” rally to raise money for the American Civil Liberties Union. Stars including Jodie Foster appeared on stage in front of 1,200-strong crowd in Beverly Hills.
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But some Oscar nominees believe it is wrong for stars to make political statements.
British-American star Andrew Garfield, nominated for best actor for his performance in Hacksaw Ridge, said: “Unfortunately celebrity culture has got to the point where a celebrity’s voice is more meaningful than other people’s in certain ways.
“That it is a shame and shouldn’t be the case. I am not a big fan of that as a cultural state that we’re in.”
The Oscars have seen political protests before. In 1973, Marlon Brando boycotted his award for The Godfather over the treatment of Native Americans by Hollywood.
Director Michael Moore was booed off stage in 2003 for criticising George W Bush, who was president at the time.
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The debate about politics and Donald Trump has replaced the controversy over diversity at the Oscars, which has dominated discussion in recent years.
Some movie business stalwarts believe stars should be able to share their opinions.
Brian McLaughlin, a film producer and instructor at the LA film school, said: “These folks have given us countless hours of entertainment. For us to give them 30 seconds to speak on an important issue, I think, is a fair trade and good for democracy.”
:: Watch the 2017 Oscars, starting with live red carpet action from 11.30pm on Sky Oscars HD tonight, and news of the winners live from Hollywood on Sky News from 6am Monday morning.