With only a few weeks till the Oscarcast, producer Steven Soderbergh presided over a Zoom call with the nominees Tuesday to explain the latest iterations of an ever-evolving awards show. The producing team has been making plans and crossing them out and making new plans — the perils of operating in a global pandemic.
Whatever happens on Oscar Night, it would be gracious if the producing team of Soderbergh, Stacey Sher and Jesse Collins get invited back next year to show what they can do when not hobbled by a pandemic that has made global travel a major hassle. Like Michael De Luca and Jennifer Todd were able to return and see through a stellar Oscarcast, following the previous year when all was going great until that final moment where a PricewaterhouseCoopers accountant, distracted by posting celebrity pictures on social media, handed the wrong Best Picture winner envelope to Warren Beatty.
Here are some of the details gleaned from the group chat with nominees, one earlier with reps of nominees and some from our own intel.
Oscar organizers have left open the possibility for more late-stage surprises, and a source said that while producers hoped nominees could be in Hollywood, there now will be venues for nominees who will be in London, Paris and Prague. SAG, whose awards happen this weekend, is pre-taping a bunch of segments Thursday in hopes of offering a show worth watching, and we’ll see if some of their moves give the Oscar producers ideas to pivot, as opposed to the hard lessons learned from the Golden Globes debacle.
Mind you, some of what’s below is still subject to change, given the unprecedented global events that have made it such a challenge to mount the 93rd Oscars on April 25:
- The Oscarcast will be an in-person event in London via satellite, with only nominees and their +1 invited.
- There will be no presenters in UK, and only winners will be broadcast.
- The Academy will make every effort to provide a virtual option for talent not in London and Los Angeles.
- Director interviews are a priority, as they are meant to be part of a special segment.
- Nominee interview questions for pre-taped segments will focus on “the journey” that got them here.
- Publicists are OK to join nominee interviews via Zoom interviews that are taking place now.
- Publicists will not be allowed on site at any location.
- Original Best Song nominees can be performed in L.A. only (we might presume the Dolby, but word is they will use the roof of the new Academy museum).
- Pre-show will take place outdoors (sources said this might include the musical numbers, which would be a first).
- Everyone will need to bring a mask – ongoing discussion with the county on whether they need to wear them.
- Implementing quarantine for travelers out of state and out of country.
- They are asking L.A./California nominees to self-isolate a week before the ceremony: no restaurants, parties, etc., and no intimate scenes on set.
- Producers will send a health packet today to all nominee reps to fill out.
- No tickets for studio reps or studio execs.
- All nominees and guests need valid ID for entry.
- International nominees are asked to be in L.A. by April 17, with Covid testing available on April 21.
- Domestic nominees asked to test by April 25.
- Testing will be available at the JW Marriott Downtown, with a drive-up option for convenience.
- If nominees are vaccinated before the two-week mandatory quarantine before the ceremony, they can submit official documentation, which can be found in that health packet.
- Academy providing documentation for nominees for international travel; however, it’s not labeled “essential travel.”
- All attendees need their travel plans approved by Dr. Erin Bromage.
- Arrivals and departures: red carpet opens at 2 p.m. with early arrivals at 1 p.m.; nominees and guests need to arrive in the same vehicle.
- SUV and Town Cars only – no limos.
- Stationary Academy publicists will be on-site to help assist.
- There will be only one Oscar acceptance speech per category, with no multiple acceptance speeches onstage. Designated speakers need to be submitted to producers.
- Guests must remain seated throughout the ceremony.
- Prior to April 25, each nominee can determine two representatives who will get access for virtual press room.
- During the show, reps will receive show flow notes, run of show and a link to join the press room.
- An engraving station will be onsite to personalize Oscar trophies.
- Nominees and their guests are considered a “pod,” and they must remain together; both must be tested beforehand, with travel plans and risk assessment being submitted together.
- Glam teams will be in zones on site for touchups; those people are asked to maintain a low-infection-risk lifestyle for two weeks prior and get tested regularly.
- In-home glam teams must organize testing on their own for safety of their nominees. There will be multiple checkpoints, with two parking placards, physical tickets and government ID required; no personal security is permitted.