in ,

Oscar Producers Pen Letter that Assures No Use of Zoom at the Academy Awards

If you thought that this year’s Oscars were going to be another awkward award show with nominees in Zoom breakout rooms giving uncomfortable speeches in hoodies, think again. It’s going to be awkward and unprecedented in different ways. 

Via a letter sent out to all of this year’s nominees, Oscar show producers Steven SoderberghStacey Sher, and Jesse Collins have informed everyone that this is a “no Zoom” event, with nominees required to either show up in person or have their award accepted by the Academy on their behalf. No speeches accidentally being delivered while on mute for the 93rd Academy Awards. 

Stated in their email, the producers instructed, “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.” 

That “virtual thing” has been designed as a safe way to continue doing Hollywood’s favorite thing, handing out trophies, while ensuring that everyone can remain as safe and socially distant as possible. 

While the event being held in person invites increased risk no matter what, the producers try to calm the nerves of those who may be hesitant to attend by assuring that they’ll be doing things with COVID guidelines in place, similar to how movie sets have been operating since productions resumed during the pandemic. In the email, their plans are detailed as follows: “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?).” 

Will this ease the concerns of those who may have felt it wasn’t safe to show up? Or will we see a noticeable increase in the amount of nominees who won’t be present for this year’s ceremony? We’ll find out on Sunday, April 25th, when the Oscars begin at 8:00pm EST, and it will be very interesting to see if this insistence against the Zoom award ceremonies will pay off with a more fluid, less technically troubled show than what we’ve been seeing this past year. 

Beyond these practical details, the producers also emphasized style protocol, informing the attendees that they will be dressed as if this is your regular Oscars show. No casual wear allowed. 

One another bit of note is that the producers have announced a theme here of “Stories Matter”, revolving the show around nominees telling their individual stories of how they’ve gotten to this moment in their life. They have asked for the nominees to participate in personal interviews, from the high profile names up for nomination in the acting categories to those in the technical categories who don’t usually get as much attention at the big show. 

No matter what, this is certainly going to be a very interesting Oscars night. 

If you want to see the email in its entirety, frequent CAPS LOCK and all, you can read it below: 

Congratulations on your Academy Award nomination! To borrow the words of an annoying flight attendant, WE ARE HONORED TO BE A PART OF YOUR JOURNEY. We trust you’re happy that your fellow artists have recognized you in an exceptional year, and it’s our wish, as your producers, to create an experience for you as a nominee that lives up to and enhances that achievement.

The first—and most obvious—point we want to get across with this year’s show is STORIES MATTER. We, as a species, are wired for narrative. It’s how we communicate. It’s how we learn. It’s how we evolve. We are surrounded by stories, we’re swimming in them, they’re inescapable. And MOVIES are—we think––the most powerful form of storytelling ever invented. It is an art form that is unique in its blending of so many other art forms, along with the singular skills required to execute it well. Then there’s the final piece: the audience. The fact a movie can be experienced by millions of people in large groups simultaneously across the planet is another reason for its remarkable reach and continuing influence.

Therefore, if STORIES matter, then the PEOPLE who bring those stories to life matter. Namely, YOU. To ensure that EVERY nominee receives equal prominence, we hope you’ll agree to be interviewed (briefly) in order to help us tell the story of your path to April 25th. We want to highlight the connections between all of us who work in the movies and show that the process is uniquely intimate, collaborative, and fun (Usually. Hopefully?).

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?).

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.

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.

You’re wondering about the Dress Code (as well you should). We’re aiming for a fusion of Inspirational and Aspirational, which in actual words means formal is totally cool if you want to go there, but casual is really not.

Finally, much has been lost and much has changed since the last Oscars. We will acknowledge that while reminding viewers of the power and necessity of stories to carry us forward, and how movies, in particular, create a special kind of connection between people all over the world.

We look forward to seeing you on April 25th.

With all our Movie Love,

Jesse
Stacey
Steven

93rd Oscars Producers

Comments

Leave a Reply

Loading…

0

Written by Mitchell Beaupre

Matthew McConaughey to Star in ‘A Time to Kill’ Sequel

SXSW Film Review: ‘The Spine of Night’ is a Brutal and Breathtaking Animated Epic