Will the Oscars be held in-person next year? That is the question of the day.
Variety says yes, quoting an anonymous source (“a rep from the Academy and ABC”) who shares: “The Oscars in-person telecast will happen.” The Hollywood Reporter, though, reports that “no decision has been made to move forward with an in-person ceremony,” according to “multiple knowledgeable insiders.”
The 93rd Academy Awards, initially scheduled to take place on Feb. 28, was pushed back two months because of the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and set to air live on April 25, the show’s organizer, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and its broadcast partner, the ABC Television Network, said June 15.
Both the Academy and ABC have stayed mum regarding today’s latest reports. Given Los Angeles County’s new stay-at-home restrictions that took effect this week due to a surge of COVID-19 cases and the unpredictability of the current climate and months ahead, it’s seemingly too early for an official announcement to be made on whether or not the Oscars will present an in-person production.
It’s likely, though not yet confirmed, that the show’s creators are currently exploring plans for an in-person option at the Dolby Theatre, the 3,400-seater where the ceremony is typically held in Hollywood. From the 2020 American Music Awards, which aired recently in November, to the 72nd Primetime Emmy Awards, hosted by Jimmy Kimmel in September, the public has gotten a glimpse of how producers have been incorporating COVID-19 health protocols to host their respective ceremonies in L.A. The former had an audience that watched the show live at the Microsoft Theater as they sat socially distanced, while the latter opted to forgo spectators and include live, in-person elements at the Staples Center with Kimmel and celebrities like actress Tracee Ellis Ross.
Deadlines for Academy Award entries have also changed this year. Certain categories, including Best Picture, are accepted for submission until Jan. 15. And while usually cut off on Dec. 31, eligibility for feature films must now have a qualifying release date between Jan. 1, 2020, and Feb. 28, 2021, for Oscar consideration.
“For over a century, movies have played an important role in comforting, inspiring and entertaining us during the darkest of times,” said Academy president David Rubin and Academy chief executive officer Dawn Hudson in a joint statement over the summer. “They certainly have this year. Our hope, in extending the eligibility period and our Awards date, is to provide the flexibility filmmakers need to finish and release their films without being penalized for something beyond anyone’s control. This coming Oscars and the opening of our new museum will mark an historic moment, gathering movie fans around the world to unite through cinema.”
The Academy was also expected to unveil its Academy Museum of Motion Pictures in L.A. this year. Instead of Dec. 14, it will open on April 30, 2021. Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, the dome-shaped museum is dedicated to the art and science of motion pictures. It’s located at 6067 Wilshire Boulevard (by the Los Angeles County Museum of Art) and features six floors of exhibitions, a conservation studio, restaurant and two theater spaces — the 1,000-seat David Geffen Theater and 288-seat Ted Mann Theater.