“Recent global events have left many of us feeling gutted,” Kunis said before presenting Reba McEntire’s performance of “Somehow You Do.” “Yet when you witness the strength and dignity of those facing such devastation, it’s impossible to not be moved by their resilience. Once cannot help but be in awe of those who find strength to keep fighting through unimaginable darkness.”
Kunis, who was born in Ukraine, and husband Ashton Kutcher have raised more than $35 million in humanitarian relief for the people of Ukraine, and last week joined Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy on a video call to further discuss relief efforts.
The Oscars broadcast had a message of its own following Kunis’ remarks, calling for a moment of silence “to show our support for the people of Ukraine currently facing invasion, conflict and prejudice within their own borders.”
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A text card on screen continued, urging viewers to show support “in any way you are able”: “While film is an important avenue for us to express our humanity in times of conflict, the reality is millions of families in Ukraine need food, medical care, clean water and emergency services. Resources are scarce, and we – collectively as a global community – can do more.”
As the crisis in Ukraine continues, Poland has accepted 2 million Ukrainians fleeing the war.
More stars, including Jamie Lee Curtis, Samuel L. Jackson and co-host Amy Schumer showed solidarity with Ukrainian refugees during Sunday’s red carpet.
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Jamie Lee Curtis
Curtis, 63, acknowledged to USA TODAY that it’s fair for others to question why an awards show is going on amid major conflict in the world, and wanted to use her platform Sunday night on the red carpet to help move the needle.
“The arts can be transformative agents of change in conflict,” she added. “Wearing a ribbon about the refugee conflict allows you to shine a light on the refugee crisis, which is the amount of displaced people… and yet at the same time, show up and participate in our community.”
She rounded out the look with a sparkling midnight blue gown by Stella McCartney and jewelry by Cathy Waterman.
Curtis is presenting a special tribute to the late Betty White at the Academy Awards, and is supporting her goddaughter, Maggie Gyllenhaal, who is nominated for best adapted screenplay for “The Lost Daughter.”
When asked if she had any final thoughts before heading into the show, Amy Schumer, one-third of the Oscars hosting trio, told USA TODAY her “thoughts are with the people (going through) the genocide in Ukraine.”
J.K. Simmons, donning a yellow pocket square with his navy suit, took a moment to honor those in Ukraine, including the family of his “Being The Ricardos” co-star Nina Arianda, who was not in attendance.
“God bless Nina Arianda my scene partner in ‘Being the Ricardos,’ who should be here tonight,” Simmons told USA TODAY. “She and her mom are in New Jersey, they have lots of family in Ukraine and we’re praying for them and thinking about them.”
Of the crisis as a whole, Simmons says he “generally steer(s) clear of anything remotely political,” but added that “in a sort of macro way, I feel like we all have a kinship, a brotherhood, a sisterhood with people who are suffering; innocent people who are being killed and forced out of their homes and worse.”
He added: “And when you have any kind of remotely personal connection to that, it just brings it home even more.”
Samuel L. Jackson
Samuel L. Jackson, 73, donned the blue “with refugees” pin atop his black velvet tuxedo jacket. The evening prior, Jackson was awarded an honorary Oscar at the Governors Awards.
Benedict Cumberbatch wore a pin with the Ukrainian flag colors; while Jason Momoa sported a blue and yellow pocket square.
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Songwriter and musician Diane Warren wore the same pin to the red carpet.
Showing support for the refugees was a simple choice, she told USA TODAY. “It’s just a simple thing we can do. It’s not political. It’s just human.”
Warren, 65, is nominated for best original song for writing “Somehow You Do” from “Four Good Days,” sung by McEntire. This is Warren’s 13th Oscars nomination.
She stepped out on the red carpet wearing a bright green suit with black trim, a black turtleneck and chunky necklace, carrying a boom box-inspired clutch.
“Minari” actress Yuh-Jung Youn, who in 2020 won the Academy Award for best supporting actress and presented at the awards show Sunday, also showed off the blue ribbon atop a dark long-sleeved dress with gold buttons and subtle sparkles.
Youn, 74 and a refugee from North Korea, expressed to USA TODAY her wish for there to be no refugees without a home or war in the world.
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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Mila Kunis, Amy Schumer, J.K. Simmons, support Ukraine at Oscars