Last July, Bill Kramer was named CEO of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Yet, he has spent a significant amount of time since then dealing with serious challenges. The Oscars have had the lowest ratings in the show’s history during the last two years.
Now, while re-engaging viewers, Kramer must deal with one of last year’s major television controversies. It’s been nearly a year since Will Smith slapped Chris Rock at the Academy Awards. The Academy, on the other hand, is still dealing with the fallout. Kramer claims that a “crisis team” has been formed to deal with any unexpected surprises during the event.
In an interview with Time Magazine, the outlet asked Kramer what measures are being put in place this year to prepare for potential surprised. For one, they have Jimmy Kimmel hosting the Oscars, who is used to dealing with live TV, where things don’t always go as planned. According to Kramer, a host who can navigate unexpected moments is crucial to the show’s success. Kramer went on to say, “But we have a whole crisis team, something we’ve never had before, and many plans in place. We’ve run many scenarios. So it is our hope that we will be prepared for anything that we may not anticipate right now but that we’re planning for just in case it does happen.”
The “crisis team” has reportedly been running possible scenarios and solutions to what could occur during the show. When asked about what those scenarios look like, Kramer explained how the crisis team will come together for various issues. “Because of last year, we’ve opened our minds to the many things that can happen at the Oscars,” Kramer said. “But these crisis plans—the crisis communication teams and structures we have in place—allow us to say this is the group that we have to gather very quickly. This is how we all come together. This is the spokesperson. This will be the statement. He also said that, depending on the crisis itself, they “already have frameworks in place that we can modify.”
Time also mentioned how the President of the Academy recently said their response to the Will Smith slap was inadequate. Then, the interviewer asked what an accurate response would have looked like. According to Kramer, people are absolutely looking at that as the award show comes closer. He hopes they can move swiftly and compassionately to engage with members and nominees in a transparent way. He says, “Let’s hope something like this never happens again—but we could have moved more quickly. And I’m not just talking about the night of the show. This is really our response after the show, and how we spoke about it, and how we talked to Will and Chris, and our hosts and our members.”