Why are people wearing blue ribbons at the Oscars? Poignant meaning and what those wearing them have to say

Stars sported blue ribbons at the Oscars and you may have noticed them on other red carpets this awards season - so what do they mean?

Cate Blanchett attends the 2023 Vanity Fair Oscar Party Hosted By Radhika Jones at Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts on March 12, 2023 in Beverly Hills, California.
(Image credit: Cindy Ord/VF23/Getty Images )

This year, stars wore blue ribbons at the Oscars to highlight an important global issue and many were happy to discuss why they chose to wear them - including first time Oscar winner Jamie Leigh Curtis.

Many of the Oscars 2023 best dressed donned a matching accessory. Those in tuxedoes had them on their lapels and those in gowns had them pinned pride of place on their chests.

The reason stars chose to wear blue ribbons at the Oscars 2023 was in solidarity and support of the UN Refugee Agency’s (UNHCR) Coalition's #WithRefugees campaign. This aims to highlight the plight of countless people around the world forced to flee their homes due to war and persecution.

Bill Nighy attends the 95th Annual Academy Awards on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California.

(Image credit: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images)

"What I love about film is the way it draws us into compelling human themes to uncover the connective tissue that binds us all," said Cate Blanchett, a Goodwill Ambassador for the UNHCR, said in an official statement.

"Whenever I have met refugees - in places such as Lebanon, Jordan or Bangladesh, in the UK, or back home in Australia - what has struck me has not been their 'otherness' but how many things we share in common."

Other actors wearing ribbons included  Bill Nighy, who was nominated for his first Oscar for his performance in Living, Jamie Lee Curtis who won her first Oscar for Everything Everywhere All at Once, and director Edward Berger Berger whose film All Quiet on the Western Front took home two Oscars.

“120 million people being displaced and children being in terrible distress, I don’t think that is politics. And that is what this commemorates," said Bill Nighy, speaking to Sky News

“It is a UN initiative," he added, "I wear it at the request of Cate Blanchett who wants to focus on that issue wherever we go publicly."

Best International Feature Film winner for "All Quiet on the Western Front," Edward Berger is seen backstage during the 95th Annual Academy Awards on March 12, 2023 in Hollywood, California.

(Image credit: Richard Harbaugh/A.M.P.A.S. via Getty Images)

Director Edward Berger added his own statement, taking the opportunity to use his public platform for good. "Today there are many people who suffer from the trauma of war, robbing them of their hope and their dreams," he said.

"They have had to experience terrible things through war and then displacement. These people deserve our solidarity and support. Everywhere and all the time."

The blue ribbons at the Oscars weren't just symbolic, as they were made at Knotty Tie Co - a company that helps refugees resettle in Denver, Colorado. 

Their social mission reads, "At Knotty Tie, we know that refugees are not a burden; in fact, refugees have an abundance of skills that are in short supply in our country and their abilities have a positive impact on our lives, business, economy and community."

Jamie Lee Curtis wears a blue ribbon, a sign of solidarity with refugees at Baftas on stage during the EE BAFTA Film Awards 2023 at The Royal Festival Hall on February 19, 2023 in London, England.

(Image credit: Kate Green/BAFTA/Getty Images for BAFTA)

It's not the first time we've seen the pins this awards season. First-time Oscar winner Jamie discussed why she chose to wear one at the BAFTAs 2023.

The actor told PA Media, “My friend Cate Blanchett is asking people to remind us all in the midst of all the season of shiny things that, of course, there are terrible refugee crises going on all over the world everywhere all at once, and we need to do our part.

Aoife Hanna
Junior News Editor

Aoife is an Irish journalist and writer with a background in creative writing, comedy, and TV production.

Formerly woman&home's junior news editor and a contributing writer at Bustle, her words can be found in the Metro, Huffpost, Delicious, Imperica and EVOKE.

Her poetry features in the Queer Life, Queer Love anthology.

Outside of work you might bump into her at a garden center, charity shop, yoga studio, lifting heavy weights, or (most likely) supping/eating some sort of delicious drink/meal.