Security increased near Dolby Theatre ahead of Oscars 2019

Washington: A huge chunk of the Los Angeles Police Department will be on hand Sunday to enforce security measures around the Dolby Theatre.

According to an officer, it will be a “mid-to-max deployment day” similar to when a U.S. president visits Los Angeles, revealed The Hollywood Reporter.

An LAPD spokesperson further said, “We will deploy enough officers to ensure the safety of all the citizens and Oscar attendees. We hope for the best and are prepared for the worst.”

Insiders say while the LAPD’s presence will be noticeable Sunday in and around the Dolby Theatre, it will be nothing compared to 2002, the first year following the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers in New York.

Back then, the FBI had warned Hollywood that film studios were on an Al Qaeda hit list, so the extra security was warranted.

However, the FBI has declined to comment on security measures this year while a spokesperson for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences said the organisation does not discuss security issues.
Furthermore, while the FBI and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department declined to say whether they’ll have an official presence at this year’s Oscars, they usually operate under the “mutual aid” provision so they’ll be available at a moment’s notice should the LAPD require assistance.

The Hollywood Reporter further revealed that while 883 new outlets have requested credentials but many probably won’t qualify, as only 306 received them a year ago. Security measures dictate that images of the badges are not shared lest they be forged. Last year, organisers revoked the pass of at least one journalist after the person posted a picture on social media of himself wearing it around his neck, said insiders.

Furthermore, Oscar organisers expect about 735 passes to be issued for Sunday’s extravaganza where the 33-feet-wide red carpet will stretch across 900 feet. Each bleacher-goer is required to supply their social security number for the purpose of a background check. They also are required to sign a liability and publicity waiver form and show a government-issued identification card prior to being seated.

There are also 250 employees in the Oscar telecast production office and 60 ushers, though organisers are keeping it secret as to the security measures employees must endure, let alone what they have in store for up to 3,300 attendees who will pack the 25,000 square-foot theatre.

There is also the matter of securing the names of this year’s winners. PricewaterhouseCoopers will create two sets of winning envelopes and put them in separate briefcases, one held stage right by a representative from the accounting firm, another at stage left guarded by another PwC employee. It is likely that there is a third briefcase in place this year to not repeat the mistake made in 2017 when ‘La La Land’ was announced winner of Best Picture when the Oscar actually was meant for ‘Moonlight.’

Furthermore, there is no list of winners lest it could fall into the wrong hands. Incredibly, the three PwC representatives who guard each briefcase are tasked with memorising which movie title is supposed to win in each of the 24 categories.

The briefcases are held in a large safe at a secret location until Sunday, when they’ll be delivered to the Dolby.

Already, Hollywood Boulevard is closed between Highland Avenue and Orange Drive, and several smaller streets will be blocked over the weekend, as will the sidewalks nearest to the theatre.