The show must go on, goes the old showbiz adage. And the Oscars are no exception. But while The Academy pushed back the date of the Oscars until April 25, 2021, to give films more room to play, the exact form of the telecast on ABC has been unclear up till now. The Academy just announced there will be live components to the broadcast — for one thing, like the Globes, the Dolby Theatre will not be the only hub for the Oscar celebration.
“In this unique year that has asked so much of so many, the Academy is determined to present an Oscars like none other, while prioritizing the public health and safety of all those who will participate,” stated a spokesperson for the Academy. “To create the in-person show our global audience wants to see, while adapting to the requirements of the pandemic, the ceremony will broadcast live from multiple locations, including the landmark Dolby Theatre. We look forward to sharing more details soon.”
“The upcoming Oscars is the perfect occasion for innovation and for re-envisioning the possibilities for the awards show,” Academy President David Rubin and Academy CEO Dawn Hudson said when they announced the producers. “This is a dream team who will respond directly to these times. The Academy is excited to work with them to deliver an event that reflects the worldwide love of movies and how they connect us and entertain us when we need them the most.”
Clearly, the Academy will do what it takes to keep all participants safe, as this year’s three first-time Oscar producers are planning the 2021 show: Emmy-nominated Grammy Show producer Jesse Collins teams with filmmakers Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh, who worked together on Oscar-winner “Erin Brockovich,” to produce the 93rd Oscars. Directing Oscar-winner Soderbergh (“Traffic”) has earned recent praise, not only for his filmmaking, but for leading the taskforce at the Directors Guild of America that has set COVID safety guidelines for the industry.
It’s exciting to imagine the talent that these producers could assemble to participate from all over the world in support of global cinema. This year, especially, there’s no need to worry about teetering on impossible heels on the red carpet. Why not have multiple presenters and contenders participate from multiple locations, depending on local COVID conditions, and mount glitzy musical performances with no audience except the massive one watching from home?
I can’t wait to see how the producers wrangle the hosts, talent, and show, with an opportunity for creative reinvention.