Cocaine Bear director Elizabeth Banks graced the 2023 Academy Awards stage with a special guest: the actual Cocaine Bear. While stepping on stage to present the award for Best Visual Effects, Banks stumbled on her gown and seemed to struggle as she approached the microphone.
Try Paramount+ FREE for a week. Subscribe here to watch your favorite shows.
However, it was soon revealed that the Hunger Games star was not alone. An actor in a mascot-level bear costume stepped out behind her. “He tripped me,” she quipped, referring to the bear. “I recently directed Cocaine Bear and without visual effects, this is what the bear looks like. Terrifying.” The bear seemed to get a bit agitated. “The coke is not real, it’s visual effects,” Banks explained to the bear, who continued heavily pantomiming. “Avatar is visual effects. Batman flying around is not real, but Tom Cruise flying is real. And Wakanda is real!” The bear then did the iconic Wakanda salute from the Black Panther films. Avatar: Way of the Water took home the award. Variety shared the hilarious footage on Twitter.
Elizabeth Banks stumbles while taking the stage at the #Oscars.— Variety (@Variety) March 13, 2023
“He tripped me,” she jokes of the Cocaine Bear who accompanied her. https://t.co/ndiKiHfmID pic.twitter.com/ldDmOovz7A
Cocaine Bear caused a stir when its trailer was initially released in November. This was due to the remarkable nature of its premise, partially stemming from an actual event that occurred decades ago. As cited by the Associated Press on December 22nd, 1985, some remains of a black bear were discovered nearby what appeared to be ripped-up cocaine bags that had been jettisoned out of an airplane.
Elizabeth Banks seems to be open to a possible ‘Cocaine Bear’ sequel
Meanwhile, audiences can’t seem to get enough of wild animals driven into a frenzy via illegal drugs. Recently, the phrase ‘cocaine shark’ went viral across social media in anticipation of director Elizabeth Banks’ upcoming film. This comes shortly after a shocking announcement by New Zealand police who discovered an astonishing three tons worth of cocaine floating in the Pacific Ocean, according to the Associated Press.
Of course, Elizabeth Banks is well aware of the cocaine shark. “I’ve seen that. If there’s a great story, then sure,” Banks recently told People Magazine. She even has the elevator pitch ready. “Jaws with cocaine, I don’t see how that loses,” she quipped.
Banks clarified that she wasn’t scared to make Cocaine Bear a gruesome and grisly experience. “In my initial presentation [I] brought to the table a lot of really gruesome real-life photography of people who have had limbs ripped off and things like that, and giant gashes and bites,” she explained about pitching the film. “And [I] just sort of said, ‘I want this…’ I wanted The Revenant.”
Banks is referring to the Oscar-winning 2015 film starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hardy. A famous sequence shows DiCaprio’s character mercilessly mauled by a rampaging bear. “Every time we talked about the bear, it was like, ‘It’s got to be The Revenant,’ she continued. “The first couple of kills have to be that gnarly so that you understand that everyone should be afraid of the bear. That was a big part of it for me.”