Prior to the 93rd Academy Awards scheduled on Sunday (local time), the Academy has released the guidelines on how the Oscars goes this year. Major film festival awards have since last year turned online or reduced their audiences significantly. Being held in offline settings, the Oscars gets widespread attention to those who join the ceremony in person and how awards are presented on the stage.
The Oscars’ most attention-gathering part is that guests will not wear face masks. Only presenters participated in the Golden Globes, the Screen Actors Guild Awards, the Directors Guild of America Award and the British Academy Film Awards between February and April this year, while awardees gave an acceptance speech in a video call, making it unnecessary to wear face masks during the ceremony.
The Academy Awards will become the first world-famous film festival since the outbreak of COVID-19 to invite both nominees and presenters in the venue. More surprisingly, the ceremony does not require attendees to wear face masks at all. “Because the ceremony — being held at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles — is being treated as a TV/film production, masks are not required for people on camera, an Academy staffer explained,” reported U.S. Entertainment News VARIETY. “However, when guests are not on camera, they are being asked to wear masks. For example, masks should be put on during commercial breaks.”
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed not only how ceremonies proceed but also how awardees come to the stage for an acceptance speech session. Oscars’ co-producer Steven Soderbergh commented that attempts are being made to break the myth that everyone else but actors is blocked from one another by barriers. Recalling being drunk back in 2001 when he won the Academy Award for Best Director because he did not see it coming, Soderbergh explained that this year’s ceremony will direct nominees and presenters to describe their personal anecdotes.
Instead of being a no-mask event, this year’s Academy Awards puts a limit on the number of guests. Only 170 people are allowed to gather in the venues of the ceremony or LA’s Union Station and the Dolby Theatre. Oscar guests are supposed to enter and leave the ceremony in a group on a fixed time frame. They are required to take at least three COVID-19 tests before entry for the sake of quarantine and safety. Only a limited number of press members are allowed to be part of the event. Up to three reporting staffs are allowed to shoot the Oscars in the red carpet zone. A distance of at least two meters is supposed to be kept between guests and reporters.
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