Oscars 2021: As organisers announce no Zoom coverage, fear of many no-shows looms large during ceremony
From covering their own travel expenses to no Zoom coverage, many PR agencies feel their talents will not bother showing up fr the Oscars ceremony this year
The Academy Awards, already delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, will finally take place on 25 April, but that doesn't mean the problems are over for the producers of the event. An award function, that too of Oscars' stature, with most of its nominees absent may lead to a huge embarrassment. And given the uncertainty, as well as circumstances surrounding the coronavirus , not many appear to be excited about the in-person attendance.
Deadline reported that the Academy wrote to all the nominees last week, informing them there will be no attendance and award-acceptance speech on the show via Zoom. The Awards 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.
Studios, distributors, and nominees are all upset with the decision taken by Oscar telecast producers Steven Soderbergh, Jesse Collins and Stacey Sher.
They say not only was it unsafe but also impractical to ask nominees to be there in person while the world is in the middle of a global pandemic. Unfortunately, standing firm on the decision may lead to many stars and nominees dropping out of the marquee event.
It's not that everything has been great over Zoom. In fact, the production on the video conferencing platform has been nothing short of a nightmare for producers. Whether it was Daniel Kaluuya’s muted audio reaction at the Golden Globes or Nicole Beharie waiting and for almost 10 seconds before she realised her name had been announced at the Gotham Awards, a smooth event on Zoom has been a far cry.
According to a report on Variety, the decision is also being seen as exclusionary. In the absence of logistics and rising COVID cases, there's no denying that only in-person attendance may lead to many, especially in the race for the best International feature, no shows in Los Angeles.
“There’s been no clarity,” a studio executive was quoted as saying by Variety. “It’s incredibly frustrating.”
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has already informed that the talent will themselves be responsible for all the expenses related to the awards.
Getting everyone to LA is anyway a herculean task and with COVID and quarantine protocols in place, it might "bankrupt" many, which is also one of the fears raised by celebrity managers and PR companies. While it may not be much for bigger stars, smaller indies are worried about bearing such a cost.
Having said that, the cost is not the only factor. Many are shooting at different locations in COVID bubbles and stepping out of it for a week or two and then stepping back will only be a headache for celebrities as well as managers.
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