Oscars 2021 In-Person Ceremony in Question After Live Zoom Broadcast Is Ruled Out

Ever since the pandemic became a permanent fixture for 2020 back in March, the film industry has borne the brunt of it, what with movie theatres shutting down, productions being halted in between, billions of dollars lost, and many other hurdles. While many productions, which had fortunately wrapped up shooting just before the pandemic hit, have opted for a digital release, the future of big events, namely the Academy Awards, is once again shrouded in doubts as contradicting reports question the format of Oscars 2021. 

As the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards went for a mixed format of live hosts, virtual nominees, and live-telecasting the whole thing, it was being expected that the 93rd Academy Awards will go for a similar route. But according to a recently released report by Variety, a representative from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and ABC has confirmed that there are no plans of holding a “virtual” Oscars next year. 

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“The Oscars in-person telecast will happen.”

Not only is the “in-person” event sticking to its scheduled date i.e., April 25, 2021, but also as per Oscars’ long-running tradition, the award ceremony will be held at the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles as usual. But whether it will be playing host to 3,400 people like always, in light of the pandemic, is still a big question. The report touches upon this issue as well, claiming that the Academy is already assessing the situation and “has done a walkthrough of the Dolby recently to see all the multiple options.”

But contradicting the claims of the above-mentioned report, Hollywood Reporter has shared no such decision has been made by the Academy or ABC. The outlet has reported that multiple “knowledgeable insiders” have confirmed that given the current situation where the Los Angeles County is stuck in a three-week shutdown following a surge in COVID-19 cases and the ever-changing impacts of the pandemic, solid plans for Oscars 2021 can’t be made. 

As there aren’t any sure signs that the pandemic will be under control by April next year, neither the Academy nor ABC can finalize an in-person event with a gathering as large as the Oscars attract. 

“In other words, everything will come down to health and safety considerations, so plans remain very fluid, with numerous contingencies being planned for.”

Confirmed plans for The Academy Awards further hinge on a decided list of producers for the telecast, who will play a major role in deciding the venue and more importantly, whether the event will be held virtually, in-person, or will opt for a hybrid format like the Emmys. And as the report claims that the Academy is yet to begin working on picking the producers for the same, it appears highly unlikely that a decision to stick to a live-audience event has already been taken. 

There is also the possibility that the Oscars will be delayed yet again. Earlier, in July this year, both the ceremony and the eligibility cutoff deadline were postponed– the former was shifted to April 25, 2021. The latter got an extension up to February 28, 2021, to “provide the flexibility filmmakers need to finish and release their films without being penalized for something beyond anyone’s control,” the Academy said in a statement. This news comes to us via Hollywood Reporter.

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