The 2021 Oscars Will Not Be Zoomed

The Oscars will probably be held in person again next year. But will there be a red carpet?

82nd Annual Academy Awards - "Meet The Oscars" New York
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In April of this year, as the coronavirus pandemic was increasingly becoming more and more serious, we posed the question, will we ever see a normal awards show again?

The coronavirus has delayed concerts and movie releases all year long. Even the Met Gala had to be canceled. But when it came to the question of whether awards season would carry on as normal, one had to ask if the show would actually go on, and how it could possibly do so considering the social distance mandate of remaining six feet apart from strangers outside of your quarantine pod, and hopefully not spending too much time with them in closed spaces.

So, in September, the Emmys, which kick off awards season by bestowing prizes to the best of television, went the virtual route, but it’s safe to say just about nobody enjoyed that. It’s already been announced that the Golden Globes will be virtual, as will the Critics Choice Awards, SAG Awards, and BAFTAs. But now, with just one month left in the year, it turns out the Academy will be bold enough to host the Oscars in person next year.

In times of crisis, the Academy has persisted to hold their annual ceremony. Not even World War II could delay the Oscars, and the coronavirus pandemic, while unprecedented, is certainly no different. The Academy pushed the eligibility window for prospective nominees until the end of February, making it easier for people to stream the potential Oscar films from home while movie theaters remain closed. The awards ceremony won’t be held until April 25, which is possibly far enough down the line for the pandemic to either worsen or get better.

So far, over 269,000 people have died from coronavirus complications in the United States, and Los Angeles County has issued a stay-at-home order due to the fact that it is the county in the U.S. that leads the number of Covid-19 cases (over 400,000) and deaths (over 7,600). While some strides have been made recently, no one knows the exact moment when a Covid-19 vaccination could be widely distributed, and even if it was widely distributed by the time the Oscars hold their ceremony next year or if herd immunization would be on the horizon, the idea that Hollywood’s elite should be first in line to be vaccinated ahead of medical professionals, essential workers, and elderly patients in assisted living facilities would be nothing short of insulting.

And still, one has to wonder, if the Oscars are to be held live and in person next April, will there still be a red carpet? Will it even be legal for the Dolby Theatre to fill all 3,400 seats when at the moment it is still not safe for gatherings of over 10 people in one indoor space? How would testing work for all of the actors, producers, directors, publicists, seat-fillers, and other various attendees? And aren’t many of Hollywood’s esteemed performers who are likely to be invited old enough to be considered a high risk for catching Covid-19? Well, according to an awards publicist, “The Academy has done a walkthrough of the Dolby recently to see all the multiple options.”

So, rest assured, the Academy is at least thinking about reality.

Related: Yes, There’s Already Some Oscars Drama Brewing