If you’re a nominee for the 93rd Academy Awards and planning on accepting your Oscar in person the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has a message for you: get your a** to Union Station. In a correspondence to nominees today, the Academy revealed that there will be no zoom acceptance speeches for this year’s pandemic delayed Oscars. Instead, nominees, their one guest, and presenters will go through a strict COVID-19 safety protocol as though it was a standard movie set in 2021.
As first reported by Deadline, here’s the portion of the E-mail informing nominees of this year’s set up.
“Regarding the practical aspects of the show, our plan is to stage an intimate, in-person event at Union Station in Los Angeles, with additional show elements live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Of course, your first thought is CAN THAT BE DONE SAFELY? The answer is YES, IT CAN. We are treating the event as an active movie set, with specially designed testing cadences to ensure up-to-the-minute results, including an on-site COVID safety team with PCR testing capability. There will be specific instructions for those of you traveling in from outside of Los Angeles and other instructions for those of you who are already based in Los Angeles. This will all come directly to you from the Academy to ensure you have a safe, carefree evening (a glimpse of the future?).”
It should be noted that the instructions for visitors outside of the United States may include quarantine measures. In theory, visitors to Los Angeles County from outside the United States are required to quarantine for 10 days. That measure has barely been enforced, however, and few celebrities (see last Sunday’s Grammys) have abided by it.
Producers Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh, made it clear there would be no zoom option for those nominees who cannot make it to Union Station, the unexpected main facility for this year’s Oscars.
“For those of you unable to attend because of scheduling or continued uneasiness about traveling, we want you to know there will not be an option to Zoom in for the show. 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.”
(Let us just note, the choices in all-cap specific words for emphasis are sending us.)
Additionally, the event’s dress code is decidedly not casual. The producers are asking for “a fusion of Inspirational and Aspirational” (their caps, not ours) which they clarify means “formal is totally cool if you want to go there, but casual is really not.”
Lastly, a more liberal suggestion for speeches than for past Oscars. They don’t think the show is too long because of the speeches but would like winners to “read the room” and, well, give a performance.
“Our Speech about Speeches. It is our belief the show isn’t “too long” because of the speeches. HAVING SAID THAT, we’d like to say THIS: With great freedom comes great responsibility, and if you’re wondering what we mean by that exactly, we mean READ THE ROOM. Tell a STORY. If you’re thanking someone, say their name, not their title. Don’t say MY MANAGER, PEGGY just say PEGGY. Make it PERSONAL. The audience leans back when they see a winner with a piece of paper in their hand. The good news is you should be pretty relaxed by show time because you will have been at a pre-show gathering in the Union Station courtyard for the previous ninety minutes with your fellow nominees and their guests (ONLY nominees and their guests will be attending the show, by the way. Oh, and the presenters!). We’re aiming for a feeling of casual exchange and good humor.”
Earlier today, the Academy also confirmed with the media that there will be a formal red carpet at the event. Limited crews will be on hand, but it will be the closest to a “normal” red carpet so far this pandemic. The only zoom for this year will be in the press room which will be handled virtually.
The producers have still not confirmed if there will be a host (we’ll assume not at this point) or if any musical numbers will take place at Union Station. At this point, the Dolby Theater may be the only venue for performances.
The 93rd Oscars will be held on Sunday, April 25, and will be televised live on ABC at 5 PM PT/8 PM ET.