“This is a really [momentous] time in humankind history, and we’re very aware of that,” Packer told reporters during a virtual press conference on Thursday. “And so you don’t go into a show like this, I don’t think, and not be aware of that and not find a way to respectfully acknowledge where we are and how fortunate we are to even be able to put on this show.”
This year’s Academy Awards will take place amid an increasingly devastating conflict following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine roughly one month ago and more than two years after the start of the Covid-19 pandemic, the latter of which Packer said has “felt like decades.”
“You think about the difficulties and challenges of doing a show like this last year — and we’re not completely, obviously, out of that situation in terms of Covid and we’ve got other challenges now — and then you think about the world stage. We will acknowledge those things and do it in a way that is respectful and shows how grateful we are,” he added. “And I think part of being grateful is to make sure that we use this opportunity to be a celebration, to be a release and to be an escape for folks out there that really need it.”
Amy Schumer, Wanda Sykes and Regina Hall are set to host the ceremony, taking place Sunday.
Packer would not say whether the idea was nixed or not, saying only the show’s planning was “still in progress.”
Skyes quipped, however, “Isn’t he busy right now?”
Hall, meanwhile, called the producer’s plans for an acknowledgment of Ukraine “beautiful.”
“It’s a delicate situation and … I think the audience will enjoy it,” she said.