LOS ANGELES — Small and subtle, the blue ribbons worn by many celebrities at the Oscars nonetheless had an important message: support refugees.
According to a statement from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, donning the #WithRefugees ribbons Sunday “sends a powerful visual message that everyone has the right to seek safety, whoever, wherever, whenever.”
The ribbons were made by Knotty Tie Co., which the agency says provides employment, training and education to refugees resettled in the Denver area.
“In many of the films nominated at festivals and awards ceremonies this season, the human themes of conflict, separation and loss are present,” the agency said in the statement, citing movies like “Avatar: The Way of Water” and “Marcel the Shell with Shoes On.”
“Through effective storytelling, these films help erode discrimination and misunderstandings, offer new perspectives and help to build compassion for people forced to flee, the statement continued.”
Like other U.N. agencies, UNHCR has a long history of celebrity engagement — most famously, Angelina Jolie was the refugee agency’s lone special envoy until parting ways last year.
Best actress nominee Cate Blanchett is a goodwill ambassador for UNHCR. But on Friday, U.N. spokesperson Stéphane Dujarric put in a plug for a goodwill ambassador from a different agency — the U.N. Development Programme. When asked whether he had a favorite for best picture, he demurred.
“No, but I do hope that the UNDP’s own goodwill ambassador Michelle Yeoh wins best actress, and we wish her all the best,” he said of the eventual winner.