The Academy of Motion Arts and Sciences said that they are still planning to conduct the Oscar 2021 in person. The upcoming event would be the 93rd Academy Awards and honor the best movies released from January 2020 to February 2021. The ceremony is scheduled to take place at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, on 25 April 2021.
Oscars is one of the most prestigious award ceremonies in the global entertainment industry. It is the oldest among the four major yearly American entertainment awards ceremonies, including the Emmy Awards for TV, the Grammy Awards for music, and the Tony Awards for theater. In contrast, the Academy Awards recognizes talented directors, actors, sound editors, scriptwriters, and craftsmen. The annual event also maintains a record and appreciates the quality movies in the industry. The 93rd Oscars was originally scheduled for 28 February 2021, while due to the COVID-19 pandemic that has badly impacted the cinema, the organizers postponed the event date.
In recent years the Academy Awards has faced controversies for its lack of diversity among the nominees, and a campaign started with the hashtag #OscarsSoWhite in 2016. After strong criticism, the Oscars have taken steps to include films like Moonlight and Parasite. Impressively both the movies did amazing in the award ceremony and won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
The first-ever Oscar was held on 16 May 1929. It was at a private dinner function with 270 audiences at the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel. The cost of guest tickets for attending the event was around $5 (which is $74 in 2020 US dollars) at that time. However, the 2020 Oscar would be different from the rest of the previous one. The award ceremony also has to adjust to the new world affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. The movie theatres are closed for a long time, and it has also hindered releasing most of the movies. The fewer entries in the Oscars made the team extend the eligibility timeline for the films. The cutoff date has been shifted from 31 December 2020 to 28 February 2021, and the main ceremony is also postponed to two months. This is likely the last compromise the Academy awards is making.
The Academy Awards adopted the nickname “Oscar” in 1939. The nickname of the awards is unclear. The biography of Bette Davis (president of the Academy) claims that she has named the award after her first husband, Harmon Oscar Nelson. While there is another story around it, as the Academy’s executive secretary, Margaret Herrick, saw the award, and the statuette reminded her of her cousin Oscar Pierce. She called it “Uncle Oscar.” Columnist Sidney Skolsky first confirmed the award as Oscar in his column on 16 March 1934.
2020 is a challenging year; not only the Academy Awards but the Golden Globe Awards have also changed its criteria for the 2021 event.
Recently, during an interview with Variety, the representative of ABC and the Academy Awards shared that they are planning to move ahead with a live in-person ceremony. An awards publicist also confirmed that the team has already done the walkthrough to the Dolby Theatre venue and determined how they will conduct an in-person ceremony. However, it is not yet clear how the organizers are taking care of the COVID-19 safety protocols and how many attendees will be allowed to present in the auditorium or host the show?
The Emmy Awards 2020 was held in September and was also different from the other years. The winners and nominees accepted the awards and gave speeches over Zoom video call. Another big event, the Golden Globes organized by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, has planned for an in-person event. The organizers have also announced Tina Fey and Amy Poehler as the host of the ceremony. However, events like SAG Awards and BAFTAs have not announced anything about the ceremony’s mode.
However, it would have been wise if the Academy Awards follow the path of Emmy and keep it a virtual event. Actors like Meryl Streep, Morgan Freeman, and Anthony Hopkins are in the high-risk group who are more prone to the virus. The decision could be the last nail in the Oscars coffin after the least last year ratings. Many celebrities would avoid attending the in-person event during the pandemic. And if that will happen, the audience would be left with a handful of stars to watch for a few hours in the Oscars 2021, which would backfire the ceremony’s ratings.