In what comes as a major respite to producers, actors, celebrity managers and everyone involved at the 2021 Oscars, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on Tuesday announced that award nominees and their guests qualify as "essential workers" to attend the event.
In a letter, the Academy said those involved in the production qualify for the essential work purpose waiver and hence are allowed to travel to and from the testing centre, rehearsals, and Academy-organised activities as they lead up to the main event, Variety reported.
“The organisers of the Oscars are implementing a required quarantine to capture the risk of each person attending the event,” the letter reads.
Since the very first announcement that the ceremony, unlike other award functions, will take place in the presence of nominees and guests, the producers have maintained that it will be shot like a movie. And therefore essential worker status follows the protocol for TV and film shoots during the pandemic. The function, already delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, is scheduled for 25 April now.
The academy has also clarified quarantine rules for people associated with awards travelling from different parts of the world. For instance, if someone is coming to Los Angeles from outside California, s/he is expected to self-quarantine for 10 days after their arrival and not interact with anyone, save for people you live with during that period.
“If you travel into Los Angeles County solely for essential work purposes, you still need to self-quarantine (when not working) for 10 days and may not interact with people other than those necessary to conduct your essential work,” the letter further said. Besides this, all the nominees and guests have to submit their travel and quarantine plan to the organisers by April and the revised one by 12 April.
A minimum of two COVID-19 PCR tests should be performed on all the nominees and guests by Academy’s vendor. Not just that, in the week leading up to the main event, at least three tests should be conducted on everyone involved, the Academy said.
Just last month, the Academy had written to all the nominees, saying a strict no to attendance and award-winning speeches over the Zoom, according to Deadline.
This had upset many studios, distributors, and nominees given the current circumstances surrounding the novel coronavirus. Many had even feared that the mandatory physical presence may lead to many no-shows, a situation the Oscar producers would like to avoid at all cost.
The ceremony will take place in the Union Station in downtown Los Angeles, while the Dolby in Hollywood will be used for other production elements like song numbers.
The Academy has already informed that the talent will themselves be responsible for all the expenses related to the awards.
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