It was announced last week that the 93rd Academy Awards were not only set to take place between two locations in Los Angeles but also an additional ‘British hub’ despite other award shows opting to go the ‘virtual’ route amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
And it seems like producers of the award ceremony have an additional trick up their sleeve.
The Oscars – which are set to take place on Sunday, April 25 – are being produced by 2001 Best Director winner Steven Soderbergh as well as longtime collaborator Stacey Sher and pandemic awards-show expert Jesse Collins.
The trio recently spoke to Vanity Fair about the constantly-changing and top-secret plans for Hollywood’s biggest night which include creating a European outpost – which was announced last week – after backlash that ensued after saying Zoom for nominees would not be an option.
Interesting: The Oscars – which are set to take place on Sunday, April 25 – are set to take place between two locations in Los Angeles, ‘British hub’, and a ‘secret’ location
Sher said: ‘Our hope was to get everybody in when things seemed they were getting better, and then it changed again.
‘Our goal in setting out to have a show where everyone matters and every category matters was certainly not to say, “and only if you’re in the U.S. and you can get here.” There was never, ever, for a second a moment where there wasn’t going to be a way to include everybody.’
Soderbergh went on to reveal that in addition to the LA hub – split between the Dolby Theatre and Union Station – and what has been referred to as the ‘British hub,’ that there also will be another surprise location.
The Traffic filmmaker said: ‘Again, this is why we kept postponing these meetings that we were supposed to be having, where we were telling people what we’re planning to do. And we kept pushing them because the guidelines kept changing…. So it became clear, we’ve got to have a hub in the U.K. There’s just no way around that. ‘We have a surprise throw to another location that we won’t reveal, but it’s super cool. And we have the segment at the Dolby as well.’
Golden: The 93rd Academy Awards are being produced by 2001 Best Director winner Steven Soderbergh, as he is seen in Toronto back in September 2019
Dynamic duo: Soderbergh’s longtime collaborator Stacey Sher and pandemic awards-show expert Jesse Collins are also producing the star-studded event
Further straying from their original ‘No Zoom’ policy, producers behind the 93rd Academy Awards are now no longer totally ruling out the video conferencing program, but are hoping it won’t come to that point.
Producers are also working with local broadcast affiliates around the world to provide satellite links for other international nominees to accept the honors/attend.
This is obviously a major hurdle for the show as Soderbergh explained to Vanity Fair: ‘Trying to coordinate getting the nominees to our broadcast partners in all of these other territories, to get them into a studio where we can control how it looks and how it sounds, and make it look integrated into everything else that we’re doing. That’s a huge logistical challenge.
‘It’s just crazy. But the good news is we have an incredible team and everybody’s working seven days a week, 12, 14 hours a day, if not more, to try and make this all look easy.’
As there have been many triumphs and failures of award show broadcasts in the COVID-19 pandemic era, the Sex, Lies, And Videotape director is hoping to put on an entertaining program in a cinematic way in order to captivate viewers.
Change of plans? Further straying from their original ‘No Zoom’ policy, producers behind the 93rd Academy Awards are now no longer totally ruling out the video conferencing program, but are hoping it won’t come to that point
Soderbergh explained: ‘The most exciting thing about this show is that it is going to feel like a film, in the sense that, at the end, we hope it’ll feel like you watched a movie.
‘Everybody will be a character: Every nominee, every person that gives an award, will feel like characters in a film. And in the end, you’ll know who everybody was and what they wanted. You’ll have a connection to everyone in this show. What we want to do is have this three-hour movie in which some awards are given out.’
There is no word yet on how live music performances will be incorporated into the show like previous years but Questlove – drummer of legendary hip-hop crew The Roots – has been commissioned by the producers to oversee the telecast’s musical components.
Collins told Vanity Fair: ‘You will definitely feel his presence throughout the show.
‘He’s been an incredible part of the creative process, and he’s going to bring a lot of cool, a lot of fun, a lot of energy. You know, we want this show to have pace, we don’t want it to drag, and I think he will be a big part of that.’
The three producers announced the ‘British hub’ in a virtual meeting last Tuesday seemingly in response to backlash due to travelling concerns.
Talented: There is no word yet on how live music performances will be incorporated into the show like previous years but Questlove – drummer of legendary hip-hop crew The Roots – has been commissioned by the producers to oversee the telecast’s musical components
The Los Angeles hub will also include a traditional red carpet component, with producers ‘planning something special for the UK location.’
This came shortly after it was reported that international nominees/attendees would be expected to quarantine for 10 days prior to the Los Angeles-based ceremony, while those living in LA (or flying in domestically) would have to isolate for five days.
Last Monday, an email obtained by Showbiz411 alleged that all international nominees were advised to prepare to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival to Los Angeles.
The email also allegedly stated that the Academy would handle all COVID tests, with three tests being required leading up to the show for international travelers.
LA-based nominees and those located in other parts of the US are being asked to ‘quarantine for 5 days’.
‘There will be 2 COVID tests required leading up to the show,’ the email reportedly reads.
The Academy is reportedly grappling with COVID-19 restrictions as it’s revealed that international nominees will be expected to quarantine for 10 days while those living in LA or flying in domestically will have to isolate for five ahead of the Oscars (2020 pictured) show
According to the email, tickets for nominees are ‘non-transferrable’ and organizers ‘will not be able to credential studio nor personal reps to be onsite’.
Variety and Deadline Hollywood reported last week that publicists and some studio executives have complained to the film academy about logistics, costs and quarantine issues raised by the decision to bar nominees from taking part in the ceremony remotely.
The Academy did not return a request for comment on the reports.
At least nine nominees, including Promising Young Woman director Emerald Fennell and star Carey Mulligan, live in Britain.
England this week is expected to ban nonessential international travel until mid-May.
Representatives of the five international feature films – submitted by Denmark, Hong Kong, Romania, Tunisia and Bosnia – could also face hurdles getting to Los Angeles.
Some of the other 200 or so nominees will be working on productions that require quarantine or living in restricted ‘bubbles’ with cast and crew.
Other awards shows in recent months have replaced the usual in-person gatherings at gala dinners and on stage with pre-recorded appearances or virtual events, or a combination of those with small in-person gatherings.
Unlike most awards shows this year, the Oscars will not be held virtually on April 25. The Academy will hand out the highest honors in the movie industry at the historic Union Station (pictured) in Downtown Los Angeles
But television audiences have slumped, with the Golden Globes and the Grammys attracting the smallest numbers in decades.
The Academy will hand out the highest honors in the movie industry at the historic Union Station in downtown Los Angeles on Sunday, April 25 and also at the traditional home of the Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
Besides quarantining, attendees are also being told to bring a mask, even if the show is being designed so that people do not have to wear them on stage or in the audience.
There will also be a rotation of nominees in and out of the room throughout the evening.
The Hollywood Reporter reported that will be a ‘state-of-the-art’ testing facility just for the Academy Awards and that additional quarantining costs for nominees will be offset by partnerships with airlines and hotels.
And while most of the traditional events leading up to the Oscars have been canceled, there will be an outdoor celebration for nominees the day prior the show.
The other part of the show will be held at the traditional home of the Academy Awards, the Dolby Theatre (pictured) in Hollywood
And while the option of ‘Zoom-ing’ into the show is still up in the air for nominees, winners not in attendance will be able to Zoom into the virtual press interview room following the ceremony.
The 93rd Oscars will be broadcast live on ABC on April 25 at 8 p.m. Eastern.
One place the ceremony will not be airing live is China as media regulators in the country decided last month to not air the event live on its streaming platforms with a censored version likely to air later.
And now days ago, Beijing-backed Hong Kong broadcaster TVB said it will not air the telecast in the city marking the first time in 50 years it has failed to do so.
According to The Washington Post on Saturday, the reason appears to be Do Not Split which is a 35-minute film made at the front lines of the 2019 Hong Kong democracy protests that has been nominated in the documentary short category.
There also seems to be concerned over a platform for Chloe Zhao, who has previously made comments critical of China, as her film Nomadland is the frontrunner for best picture and director.
Highly-anticipated: The 93rd Oscars will be broadcast live on ABC on April 25 at 8 p.m. Eastern