The Oscars are this Sunday. I understand completely if you forgot, or if you’re not looking forward to them. 2021 has been a very odd year for awards shows and the awards season entirely. All things considered, I would have been okay with the Oscars just taking this year off, or really shaking things up and doing an entirely virtual ceremony. Weirdly, there’s only one event in the past year which really felt special and amazing in virtual form, and that was the amazing Democratic National Convention. The way they set up all the pre-taped bits across the country was beautifully done, and I have no idea why awards shows didn’t consider doing something like that. Instead, we’ve had awards shows which are either in-person super-spreader events or boring-ass Zoom awards. The Oscars, it seems, will be a super-spreader event.
The Academy is not asking Oscar attendees to wear face masks while cameras are rolling during the live ceremony on April 25. The news was announced on Monday morning during a Zoom meeting with Academy reps and nominees, and studio and personal publicists. Because the ceremony — being held at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles — is being treated as a TV/film production, masks are not required for people on camera, an Academy staffer explained.
However, when guests are not on camera, they are being asked to wear masks. For example, masks should be put on during commercial breaks.
The Academy also revealed that audience capacity will be limited to 170 people. As Variety first reported earlier this month, audience members will be rotated in and out of the ceremony. Upon arrival to Union Station, nominees will receive a personalized itinerary that outlines what times they will be rotated in and out.
Oscars co-producer Steven Soderbergh remained mum on face-mask protocol during a press conference with co-producers Jesse Collins and Stacey Sher. He said on Saturday that masks would play “a very important role in the story.” “If that’s cryptic, it’s meant to be,” he added. “That topic is very central to the narrative.”
The meeting included a detailed walk-through of what attendees should expect at Union Station. A temperature check will be mandatory. Attendees must also take at least three COVID tests in the days leading up to the ceremony.
An abbreviated red carpet will include three photographers and a limited number of press outlets doing interviews, including ABC News, KABC and E!. International outlets will be from Japan, Canada, the U.K., Germany, France, Brazil, Spain, Mexico and Australia. There will be at least seven feet between reporters and interviewees. In addition to virtual press-conference style interviews backstage, winners will have the opportunity to do virtual interviews with Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest for “Live With Kelly and Ryan” as well as Lara Spencer of “Good Morning America.”
I don’t understand any of this, honestly. It’s like that legal thing – adhering to the letter of the law but not the spirit. Sure, it’s technically better that people will wear masks during commercial breaks and they’re limiting the number of people within the theater, but the spirit of the law is that people should remain masked at all times and the whole thing should have been on Zoom. I trust that Steven Soderbergh is threading a delicate needle here, but all of this is so damn unnecessary.
Also: they should make the Oscars a vaccination center. Everyone can arrive masked and in their jewels and finery and they can get their Pfizer or Moderna shots there. That would be a great public health move. I would watch four hours of celebrities being vaccinated in evening gowns and tuxedos.
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.
Aren’t the chances pretty good that most of the attendees and people working there are already vaccinated?
As a Canadian, watching jealously from the north, I figured that by now, anyone who wanted one had (at least) one!
As per usual, the support staff (which wil likely outnumber the “attendees”) are the ones who are most likely to have not be able to access a vaccine and will be put at greatest risk.
I’m sure most will be vaccinated.. but I am willing to bet there are ant Vaccers
In that crowd as well (think Jenny McCarthy pre Covid). Even vaccinated they can become unknowing carriers and spread the germs with the general public. This was a great opportunity to set an example to the general public and all could have worn fabulous masks. As usual though epic fail.
Although I’m pretty sure the vast majority of the people involved in this event would have been vaccinated already it would be nice to set an example for mask wearing as most of the world is still in jeopardy with Covid and lockdowns. Since it is an event that gets world wide coverage to show solidarity would have been awesome instead of pretending this isn’t happening.
I’ m sure most will be vaccinated too. My office just got 200 Moderna vaccines to give out, but the majority of people on our waiting-for-the- vaccine list have gotten it by now. All of my friends (in our 30s, in FL) who wanted it also have gotten it by now, and none of them are high risk or in healthcare.
And mask wearing is still important, it is a shame they aren’t setting a better example.
I don’t understand why they are doing this – insisting on it being in person, lots of people having to travel in, no masks. It’s awful! I wonder if some are just not going to attend? Or if they go, I hope they all say screw that and wear masks the whole time.
This is just dangerous and unnecessary for everyone attending and working at the event.
One would think the Oscars ceremony would be forward thinking and inspiring – NOT
These people need to get an education on covid. The fact that they can be asymptomatic at ANY point, regardless of testing, and the fact that they can expel aerosols that LINGER in the air, that the next “rotating bunch” will breathe in, seems to be beyond their comprehension.
While I agree that pretty much all of them are probably vaxxed already (whether privately or when their “turn” came up), we also *do* know that vaccinated people *can* get covid.
I’m not going to bother watching; it’s like rewarding for bad behavior. I’ll just catch up on the fashion/gossip here the next morning.
Do Better Oscars.
This is a really bad look. Temperature checking? Removing masks in an crowd? Pretending that we are post covid? All of these decisions are hugely problematic and make America look like a bunch of vaccine hoarding Aholes. Badly done!
That’s a lot of unnecessary risk and work when No. One. CARES!!
I’m not trying to be mean, I am sad that this is such a fantastically diverse year that showcases fresh faces, and it’s going to pass with little interest. I hope that the winners and nominees can still parlay this into higher salaries/more work but I don’t think the insistence on in person/live will age well for the Academy. The ratings are going to absolutely tank and even understanding it’s a pandemic some egos are about to be seriously bruised.
Still doing useless performative temperature checks, I see?
This is so tone deaf. I really feel for the staff that have to participate in this nonsense and are the ones most likely at risk. Even vaccinated (with both shots) masks will be part of life for a while, especially as the variants take hold and are more transmissible and deadly.
This is Hollywood sticking their heads in the sand while other places in the world burn – and typing that out, I realize I should have expected nothing less.
This seems like a terrible idea and also boring, since there have been so few movies this year.
It would be more interesting if they made it a vaccination site, but both doses gave me a headache so it probably would suck to sit around in a gown for four hours afterward. Maybe on the way out of the ceremony or at “halftime”?
This is a truly terrible idea for all the reasons given above. The pandemics is still raging, lean into that fact and work with all the things you can do virtual OR get all the amazing matching masks and outfits and give a great public health message.
Am I surprised they aren’t doing any of this? Of course not, we see these clowns in action every year.
Yeah, I think I’m just going to not watch the Oscars this year. This is a boatload of completely unnecessary risks for EVERYONE, but especially the support staff.
I am not anti-vax, but surely they can take the masks off and practice social distancing when on camera. I don’t hear real well and voices are muffled when speaking thru masks.