LOS ANGELES - The red carpet has been rolled out on Hollywood Boulevard, where the Academy Awards, or Oscars, will be presented in the Dolby Theatre on Sunday evening for the annual celebration of the movies. Amid the glamour and humor, there will inevitably be political moments in a year when many in Hollywood have their minds on politics.
Host Jimmy Kimmel can be counted on for gibes aimed at President Donald Trump. Many stars are likely to wear symbolic pins, flowers or ribbons to acknowledge the #MeToo and #Time'sUp movements, which are demanding an end to harassment in the workplace, especially in this industry rocked by repeated allegations of sexual assault.
At other recent awards shows, including the Golden Globes, some women dressed in black. That's not expected at the Oscars, but the topic will be addressed on the red carpet and, say the telecast producers, during the awards show.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, which presents the Oscars, expelled mogul Harvey Weinstein in October following dozens of accusations of sexual misconduct, which he denies.
Other Academy members, including actor Kevin Spacey and director Roman Polanski, remain in the organization awaiting possible disciplinary proceedings after the Academy draws up guidelines. Spacey has been accused of assaulting young men and boys and Polanski pled guilty in 1977 to having sex with a 13-year-old girl. At least five other woman have since accused Polanski of abuse.
Actor Casey Affleck, who settled two lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct seven years ago, has denied the accusations and withdrawn as a presenter.
A prominent red carpet interviewer, Ryan Seacrest of E! Entertainment Television, is also the subject of accusations of sexual harassment; he denies them.
On Thursday, a street artist who calls himself Plastic Jesus unveiled artwork in Hollywood called the Casting Couch, a golden statue of Harvey Weinstein relaxing in a bathrobe on a sofa. The artist said he hopes to call attention to Hollywood's "dark underbelly."
Some on Hollywood Boulevard have seen a mood shift. Gregg Donovan is a fixture on the street in his red coat and top hot, a ubiquitous greeter of the tourists. "People are a little bit more reserved," he said, "and in particular, some of the celebrities I've seen, [when] the tourists want to get a picture, they're a little bit careful. There's no hugging or kissing."
Kimmel told an interviewer that sexual assault is no laughing matter, but that the issue will be addressed during the evening.
Another possible theme that may be addressed by the winners is gun violence, including the recent shooting deaths of 17 people at a Florida high school.
Conservative critics say that Hollywood stars live in a liberal bubble, but popular entertainers, including Oprah Winfrey, have increasingly spoken out on women's and other issues. She made an impassioned plea for women's rights at the Golden Globes in January.
Yet many around the world just want to be entertained and many in Hollywood want a glimpse of the stars, like Jose Molina, who works for a company that provides valet services and security.
"I'll probably be in the alley or somewhere watching that people don't get in without the proper pass or badges," he said. "I'm going to be enjoying it," he added. "It's Hollywood Boulevard," motioning to the crowds of visitors. "It's what we wait for every year.
The goal for the producers of the telecast is to balance relevance and ratings, and let winners have their say. One of the show's producers added in a recent interview that the program is about entertainment and the movies, not politics. Political issues, however, are on the minds of many Academy members.