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Cocaine Bear joins Elizabeth Banks on stage at the Oscars

When Elizabeth Banks presented the Oscar for Best Visual Effects 95th Academy Awards At the event in Los Angeles on Sunday night, she shared the stage with one of Hollywood’s hottest characters.

Banks, who directed this year’s box office smash “Cocaine Bear,” announced the nominees alongside a co-presenter dressed in full bear costume. Banks’ new thriller, which has grossed $65 million worldwide since opening in theaters just weeks ago, is inspired by the true story of a 175-pound black bear in Georgia 40 years ago that apparently ingested a large dose of cocaine dropped from a plane. Run by a convicted drug smuggler.

“I recently directed the film ‘Cocaine Bear,'” Banks said at the Oscars. “And without the visual effects, that’s what the bear would look like. It’s terrifying.”

Elizabeth Banks and Cocaine Bear at the 95th Annual Academy Awards

Elizabeth Banks and Cocaine Bear on stage during the 95th Annual Academy Awards at the Dolby Theater on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California.

Getty Images

“What are you doing? Stop,” Banks said to the costumed bear. “Are you trying to score now? You have to wait until after the party like everyone else.”

Banks highlighted the importance of visual effects in bringing stories to life onscreen.

“The coke isn’t real. It’s visual effects,” he said before laying out a creative introduction to each of the year’s nominees in the category: “All Quiet on the Western Front,” “Top Gun: Maverick,” “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” “The Batman, ” and the eventual winner, “Avatar: The Way of Water,”

“‘Avatar’ is visual effects. ‘All Quiet on the Western Front’? It’s visual effects. It was real war, but real visual effects. Batman flying around – it’s not real. Tom Cruise flying around is real, but, visual effects. ,” he said of the “Maverick” actor famous for doing his own stunts.

“Wakanda? Wakanda is totally real,” Banks continued, “Visual effects can enhance any story and are an incredible tool for a filmmaker like me. Without visual effects, ‘Cocaine Bear’ would have been an actor in a bear suit. . . . Probably on cocaine.”

The award for best visual effects was the first win of the night for “Avatar: The Way of Water,” which was nominated in four categories this year, including best picture.


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