The longest movie awards season ever finally comes to an end on Sunday evening with the 93rd annual Academy Awards. Despite the pandemic, the show must go on, and that means a real live red carpet is going down in Los Angeles, at Union Station, where the in-person ceremony will take place. Staging this year’s ceremony was a massive undertaking for producers Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher, and Steven Soderbergh, who’ve promised an event like no other. Whether or not it all goes down without a gaffe in sight is no matter — this will still go down as one of the most intriguing, and so far mysterious, Oscars shows ever.
This year’s guest list is smaller than usual. Much smaller, in fact, with a maximum cap of 170 people, which means nominees and presenters get to bring one guest. At a recent press conference, Soderbergh explained, “I’m sure there are some people who normally would be attending going, ‘I don’t understand why I can’t come.’ … As soon as you open the door beyond nominees, their plus-one and the presenters, you can’t control it. And so that was not even a question for us. Like, this is how it has to be done. [Disney executive] Bob Iger won’t be there. That is just where we are at, and that is how we are being allowed to do it this way.”
As for the red carpet itself, it’s not going to be your standard pageantry of stars gleaming before gobs of bursting flashbulbs. Instead, it’s going to be a scaled-down carpet, as Stacey Sher explained. “It’s not a traditional red carpet. It’s a teeny tiny red carpet…Many of those [red-carpet] conversations will happen. They are just going to happen in a more intimate way among the nominees. It’s a very small footprint for safety reasons, obviously.”
Guests participating in the red carpet have been asked to rein in their lifestyle for the past 10 days, and will be subject to temperature checks upon arrival. There will also be rapid COVID testing available on site. Guests are not being required to wear face coverings when the cameras are rolling, but are being asked to mask back up during commercial and other breaks.
The 2021 Oscars ceremony begins at 8pm ET Sunday on ABC, broadcasting live from both Union Station and the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. ABC is extending its coverage of the 2021 Oscars with a pre-show beginning at 6:30pm ET (“Oscars: Into the Spotlight,” hosted by Ariana Debose and Lil Rel Howery) and a post-show airing after the Oscars ceremony (“Oscars: After Dark,” with Colman Domingo and Andrew Rannells).
Check out IndieWire’s roundup of the best looks from the carpet below, and read more about how to watch the show live here.