Oscars Producers Say No Zooms, No Jeans at This Year’s Ceremony

Clayton Davis
·3-min read

The Academy Awards are over a month away, and the show’s details have been a drip-drip as the season presents various challenges for award shows and ratings. In a letter to this year’s Oscar nominees, the show’s producers, Emmy nominee Jesse Collins (“Zoboomafoo”), Oscar nominee Stacey Sher (“Django Unchained” and “Erin Brockovich”) and Oscar winner Steven Soderbergh (best director for 2000’s “Traffic”) announced there will be no Zoom option for the artists that choose not to attend, either because of “scheduling or continued uneasiness about traveling.”

Taking impeccable notes from the Golden Globes and Emmys that had winners accepting their awards via Zoom, the producers state, “We are going to great lengths to provide a safe and enjoyable evening for all of you in person, as well as for all the millions of film fans around the world, and we feel the virtual thing will diminish those efforts.”

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The trio also gave notes regarding keeping speeches short, so the show doesn’t run “too long” and encouraged the eventual winners to “read the room” and “tell a story.”

The show’s practical aspects were also shared and described in the email, which characterized the gathering as “an intimate, in-person event” which will take place at Union Station in Los Angeles, with additional show elements occurring live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. With a strong emphasis on safety, the Oscars will be treating the show as an active movie set, with “specifically designed testing cadences” to ensure up-to-the-minute results, including an on-site COVID safety team with PCR testing capabilities.

Additional instructions will be sent to nominees traveling from outside Los Angeles directly.

Emphasizing the message that “stories matter,” the telecast’s producers are requesting that every nominee be interviewed briefly to ensure everyone receives equal prominence. The purpose is to highlight the connections between “all of us who work in the movies and show that the process is uniquely intimate, collaborative, and fun.” No details were shared about who would be interviewing them or when it would run during the show.

There will also be a pre-show gathering in the Union Station courtyard for the preceding 90 minutes with nominees and guests. Only guests and the presenters will be attending the live telecast.

Also included were details regarding the evening’s dress code, which aims to be “a fusion of inspirational and aspirational, which in actual words means “formal is cool if you want to go there, but casual is really not.” In other words, there will be no Larry McMurtry (Oscar-winning screenwriter of “Brokeback Mountain”) jean moments.

The nominations announced on March 15 were the most diverse and inclusive field in the 93-year history. Two female filmmakers, Chloé Zhao of “Nomadland” and Emerald Fennell of “Promising Young Woman,” were nominated for best director, with their films receiving best picture nominations. Nine of the 20 acting slots were recognized by POC, including Riz Ahmed (“Sound of Metal”), the late Chadwick Boseman and Viola Davis (“Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom”), Steven Yeun and Yuh-Jung Youn (“Minari”), Andra Day (“The United States vs. Billie Holiday”), Leslie Odom Jr (“One Night in Miami”) and Daniel Kaluuya and Lakeith Stanfield (“Judas and the Black Messiah”).

The Oscars will air on Sunday, April 25, on ABC.

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