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Are ‘Oscars’ With ‘Masks’ This Time? Here’s How Awards Are Going To Happen

Be It Corona or the other virus, pandemic or the non pandemic, the show must go on.

After pushing back the Oscars two full months, from the awards show’s usual roost in late February to this Sunday, the motion picture academy is determined to put on as glitzy and glamorous a telecast as possible — red carpet twirls, teary acceptance speeches and all — while strictly abiding by the latest COVID safety protocols.

Are Awards Truly Going To Be In Person?

Shockingly, the answer is yes, but lets see the complication.

After pushing back the Oscars two full months, from the awards show’s usual perch in late February to this Sunday, the motion picture academy is determined to put on as glitzy and glamorous a telecast as possible — red carpet twirls, teary acceptance speeches and all — while strictly abiding by the latest COVID safety protocols.

Most nominees and presenters will be at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, with both indoor and outdoor spaces utilized for the evening’s events. Built in 1939 in a blend of Spanish Colonial, Mission Revival and Art Deco styles, the historic landmark presented unique challenges for production designer David Rockwell; for example, nothing could be attached to the ceiling or the floor.

Further complicating things, the Union Station will continue operating for travelers during the show. And the show itself will be orchestrated a bit like a train station, with attendees rotating in and out of the ceremony according to a carefully timed itinerary that will be given to them upon arrival in order to limit the number of people gathered at one time.

Are Many Attendees Attend As Usual?

It’s an obvious no for this.

Due to public health restrictions on the number of people allowed to crowd together, the guest list is far smaller than usual. Audience capacity at Union Station will be capped at 170 people. Given that the Dolby Theatre normally holds more than 3,000 people, many Hollywood power players who might normally have been invited will have to watch from home.

As Soderbergh explained at a news conference last weekend, “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.”

How The Show’s Team Is Handling These Challenges?

Very honestly, in terms of the how of it all, we had to approach it as a blank slate,” Weiss said. “This isn’t taking out the template of how awards shows work or how the Oscars work — this is creating from scratch.

And in a really positive way, by the way, because it really is a little freeing to be able to lead yourself and your team into a new direction.

“I’s never going to be completely dialed in because we’re always walking on eggshells that something might change. We are ahead of everything that we possibly could be but ready for any curveballs that might come.”

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