All ears: here’s why Bill Nighy’s Oscars date was a small stained bunny | Oscars 2023

Awards season is good at magnifying the public personas of participants. This goes for winners (Ke Huy Quan of Everything Everywhere All at Once becoming a dangerously energetic puppy) and attendees (Hugh Grant as the spectacularly grumpy opposite of Ke Huy Quan), but arguably nobody pulled off this trick with more panache than Bill Nighy at the Oscars.

Nominated for best actor for his still and unshowy role in Living – a performance that was always going to be overshadowed by the grotesqueries of Elvis and The Whale – Nighy nevertheless managed to hone his persona in order to carve out a small but notable moment of virility on the red carpet. This is because, upon posing for the cameras, Nighy pulled a stained Sylvanian Family rabbit out of his pocket and displayed it to the world.

It was perfect Nighy. It was restrained (those scrolling through a red carpet gallery could have easily missed it). It was tasteful (he was holding a member of the Babblebrook family, a design classic that was included in the original Sylvanian Families launch in the mid 1980s but is now unavailable). And it was slightly sinister (the rabbit was covered in so much unidentified sauce that more than one Twitter user assumed that it had been murdered by gunshot).

Bill Nighy, with a small stuffed rabbit, arrives at the Oscars on Sunday, March 12, 2023, at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. (Photo by Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP)Pin
A rabbit in LA … what are the stains? Photograph: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Best of all, it was unexplained. The red carpet is traditionally where stars make big political statements, like Elizabeth Taylor wearing a red ribbon for Aids awareness in the 1990s or Ryan Gosling wearing a T-shirt with the word “Darfur” on it, so there was a sense that Nighy was simply joining in.

Maybe the rabbit represented something. Maybe he was bringing attention to the petition asking the US Fish and Wildlife Service to save the pygmy rabbit from extinction by adding it to the Endangered Species Act. Maybe it was a sly act of LGBTQI+ solidarity, after stories that Tu’er Shen the Chinese rabbit God has become an icon of the Taiwanese gay community. Maybe, stunned by the recent news that the Sylvanian Families shop in Finsbury Park, north London – Europe’s only independent Sylvanian Families retail outlet – is closing down after 30 years of business, he held up the Babblebrook rabbit as a protest against online commerce.

But that couldn’t have been it. Because Nighy was already drawing attention to a cause on the red carpet. He was wearing a blue ribbon as an act of solidarity with refugees. And you can’t raise awareness with two separate things on a red carpet, can you, because it muddies the message? You can’t say: “I stand with refugees and also small toy mammals made of flocked plastic,” because then nobody would have a clue what you were about. You’d be laughed out of Hollywood.

Finally, however, we have something approaching an answer. In a statement to Metro, when asked about the mysterious Babblebrook interloper, Nighy said that “My granddaughter’s schedule intensified and I was charged with rabbit-sitting responsibilities. I wasn’t prepared to leave her unattended in a hotel room. The stakes are too high. Where I go, she goes…”

Which is lovely – it was nothing more than a dotingly public act of grandparenting. Nighy has two granddaughters, born in 2016 and 2020, so it makes some sense to assume that the rabbit belongs to the younger one. But questions remain. What sauce is the rabbit covered in? It looks like ketchup, but it could be gochujang or some sort of berry syrup. Was the sauce a recent addition? Who was responsible for that, Nighy or his granddaughter?

More than anything, which member of the Babblebrook family was he holding? Nighy already winnowed the field by identifying it as female – and it’s unlikely to be Coral (the baby Babblebrook) or Pearl (who wears glasses) – but that still leaves Crystal and Harriet and Jessica and Judy and Breezy. This rabbit is currently the most famous flocked plastic rabbit on Earth, so the world deserves to know.

( Information from was used in this report. Also if you have any problem of this article or if you need to remove this articles, please email here and we will delete this immediately. [email protected] )

Leave a Comment

Share to...