After all the important conversations and changes the #MeToo and Time’s Up movements have sparked, awards show red carpets were bound to evolve too. At the Golden Globes, many big name actresses brought activists as their dates and talked about the issues facing women in Hollywood and elsewhere. At the Grammys, artists sported white roses to show their solidarity. And at the Oscars, a bunch of A-listers skipped chatting with E! red carpet host Ryan Seacrest, who’s been accused of sexual misconduct.
E!’s decision to give Seacrest the job this year raised some eyebrows after the host was accused of sexually harassing a former stylist back in November. Suzie Hardy, who worked as Seacrest’s personal stylist until 2013, says Seacrest had a pattern of sexually aggressive behavior toward her that included groping, grinding up against her in his underwear, and slapping her butt. Seacrest has adamantly denied all allegations.
A couple stars, including Jennifer Lawrence and Jimmy Kimmel, had spoken out ahead of the show about the importance of knowing the facts before jumping to judgment in regards to Seacrest. But it was pretty clear Sunday night, March 4th, that the E! host wasn’t scoring the kind of top-tier celebrity interviews he usually gets.
None of the women nominated for Best Actress stopped to talk to Ryan Seacrest, for instance.
He also didn’t interview Ashley Judd, Sandra Bullock, Viola Davis, Jennifer Garner, Mia Sorvino, and others, while ABC’s hosts Michael Strahan, Krista Smith, Wendi McClendon Covey, and Sara Haines were able to catch up with Davis, Margot Robbie, Judd, Sorvino, and more. According to Variety, Disney star Sofia Carson was Seacrest’s only interview in the first 45 minutes of the two-hour pre-show.
There had been rumblings that E! would be operating on a delay during the broadcast in case Seacrest’s current situation created any awkward moments, but the network said they were running the show the same way they always have. Viewers also speculated that Taraji P. Henson was throwing serious shade at Seacrest when she referenced the universe having a way of “taking care of the good people” while stroking his chin, but the Empire actress later clarified that the comment was actually a statement of support for him. Some publicists reportedly told Variety that their clients were deliberately avoiding Seacrest, while others were willing to make the red carpet stop.
Once they traveled through the carpet and made it into the ceremony, stars had plenty to say.
Judd and Sorvino kicked off a powerful tribute to #MeToo, #TimesUp, and the importance of equality in movies. Best Actress winner Frances McDormand encouraged her Hollywood colleagues to add “inclusion riders” to their contracts to make sure their work reflects the real world. The creators of Coco spoke about the power of representation. Messages of truth and respect were everywhere throughout the night, and many made it clear that from here on out, they won’t be settling for anything less.