The upcoming in-person Oscars are taking no risks when it comes to Covid-19 as it will have a “teeny-tiny” red carpet, no invitations for Hollywood’s most powerful moguls, and a “central” role for masks. To top it off, the ceremony next week will have the look and feel of a movie, giving winners more time for speeches.
According to The Sun Daily, a trio of new producers have led to a reinvention of the traditional show where the world’s highest movie honours are handed out before a seated theatre audience of more than 4,000 A-list stars and industry executives.
Much of the 25 April ceremony will instead be held at the Art Deco Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, where a stage is being built and where presenters will be doing more than opening an envelope with the winner’s name.
“It’s not going to be like anything that’s been done before… We want the show to have a voice,” said director Steven Soderbergh. He continued by stating that the ceremony would be shot like a movie, with presenters including Brad Pitt, Harrison Ford and Halle Berry “playing themselves, or at least a version of themselves”.
Speeches by Oscar winners were previously limited to around 45 seconds. This year, Soderbergh said, “we’re giving them space. We’ve encouraged them to tell a story, and to say something personal”.
The show would also be preceded by a 90-minute pre-show that will include performances of the five original song contenders that were recorded in advance on the roof of the new Academy Museum in Los Angeles, and in Iceland.
The producers said strict testing and COVID protocols would be in place, much of them following standards developed last year to get movie and TV production running again.
Asked about masks at the ceremony, Soderbergh gave what he called a deliberately cryptic reply.
“Masks are going to play a very important role in the story. That topic is very central to the narrative,” he said. Nominees unable to travel to Los Angeles for the ceremony will be able to take part via satellite hookups from venues around the world but there will be no Zoom appearances.