The 2021 Oscars would never be “normal” in a year when normalcy escapes much of the planet due to Covid-19, and so their preparations are, according to the ceremony’s producer, filmmaker Steven Soderbergh. This is how he described what the organization has been doing for a week – after the producers insisted at the awards ceremony that there would be no zoom and the presence of the nominees was mandatory, the producers resigned on Tuesday after heavy criticism and announced that there will be at least two locations in Europe. London and Paris will be the two additional legs of the top awards in North American cinema and the most popular in world cinema in a year when traveling between countries or even a cinema is an almost impossible mission.
The 93rd Oscars will take place on April 25th (beginning April 26th in Portugal) and initially wanted to stand out from other ceremonies in the industry by eliminating video broadcasts and the dryness of award deliveries of recent months. The Hollywood Academy of Arts and Sciences hired producers were adamant: “There will be no way to attend the ceremony through Zoom”. They wanted her to be “intimate and intimate” in person. “But on Tuesday, Soderbergh and producers Jesse Collins and Stacey Sher said in a symptomatic phone call made by Zoom that they had heard the complaints, and revealed the new plan that the first departures of the US Oscars involves paying the cost of the guests and more “transparency”.
The Oscars will then take place in two locations that have not yet been announced in London and Paris, in addition to the two previously announced venues – the Dolby Theater and Union Station in Los Angeles, the Hollywood Reporter reported. Variety Magazine only takes the English capital for granted. “London is 100% confirmed,” said Stacy Sher speaking with Infectious Disease Specialist Erin Bromage of the University of Massachusetts – Dartmouth to answer questions from the academy’s interlocutors, ie representatives of the studios and nominees.
It’s the first time the Oscars have set up an operation that includes alternate ceremonial rooms outside of the United States. You were born in 1929 at the Hotel Roosevelt on Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles and did not leave the Californian city until 1953-1957, when the ceremony took place simultaneously in Hollywood and New York – exactly at that time the Oscars were being broadcast on television.
The producers’ original plan has been scrutinized almost as closely as the nominations announced on March 15. The insistence on the presence of the nominees – who can only be accompanied by a guest – on a very small attendance list in relation to years without Covid-19 – raised issues: logistics that included quarantines on arrival in the US in cases where Nominees could not even travel (many non-essential international travel is still banned worldwide), and return quarantines that interrupted life for nearly a month and most importantly ongoing projects and shootings, on top of health risks and high costs. The chorus of criticism collided in silence.
“We apologize very much for the frustration our silence caused,” said Steven Soderbergh on Tuesday’s video call. “It’s not because we’re not listening to you or because the complexity of the ceremony surprised us,” he said. “Every day since the nominations were announced, we have had an internal debate every day about what information should be published about our activities, especially because this information often has the consistency of … gelatine,” he explained, explaining the lack of definition that marks the entire season of the Awards and thus the Oscars. The producers insist that they want to do “something special and safe,” a show that is “the climax” and “gives people what they want, which is a sense of community and normalcy,” added Jesse Collins added.
At the moment it seems to be set in stone that the performances of the nominated songs will take place in Los Angeles and that all nominees traveling to California will be tested at least twice on covid-19, with different requirements depending on the quarantine, origin, vaccination status or Mode of Transport. The quarantine costs in Los Angeles are covered by the Academy’s business partners. There will be a red carpet, but it will be very different from the usual. Only 20 accredited media and four photographers are present. At Union Station, where many of the guests will be, their presence will rotate to minimize gatherings and, according to Soderbergh, will be like a cocktail of sorts. The press room will be virtual. The opening number “will make your legs shake,” Soderbergh said.
What is not yet known: whether guests have to wear masks to participate; If nominees who are unable to visit any of the Oscars rooms may or may not enter the ceremony via Zoom. “The word started with Z?” Joked Soderbergh. “Look, let’s just say we hope it doesn’t happen.”
The Oscars are one of the biggest live television events in the world and are broadcast in hundreds of countries. Audiences have been in decline since 1998 when Titanic, the third most profitable film of all time, closed the ceremony. The loss of audience is also related to the distraction of the public via cable or streaming and fluctuates over the years with more or less popular candidate films. In a year like 2020/21, when much of the cultural and cinematographic offering was streamed, thousands of cinemas were closed for extended periods, and premieres were postponed by the big studios, the aggregation power of the Oscars is another unknown in the world in the middle of a pandemic.