After a rocky year for awards shows that saw many of the industry's most prestigious accolades awarded and celebrate virtually, there was much speculation on when and if we would finally be treated to the hustle and bustle of a 'normal' awards season again. As it turns out, the Academy is taking fate into their own hands, suggesting the possibility of an in-person event for the Oscars in 2021.
A representative for the Academy and ABC, which is the network that airs the distinguished Oscars shared with Variety that, “The Academy has done a walkthrough of the Dolby recently to see all the multiple options."
The Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles where the awards have historically been held has a capacity of 3,400 seated guests, however, it's still unclear what Covid safety measures will be required in order for the ceremony to go ahead.
Unlike the usual timeline for the Oscars, which traditionally take place at the beginning of February, the Academy announced that it would be pushing the annual awards ceremony back two months in 2021 to April 25. Sources within the Oscars have shared that the change in timeline was made in the hope that theatres would reopen, allowing for more movies to compete in the annual celebration of the year’s best films. The Academy has also made adjustments to the submission process, allowing films that premiered on streaming platforms to qualify.
Earlier this year, The Emmy's adopted a hybrid approach to celebrate the most important night in television, that included a sprinkle of in-person elements, but still saw most award nominees tuning or Zooming, in from their living rooms. There's no confirmation as yet on how the four televised ceremonies leading up to the 2021 Oscars – Golden Globes, Critics Choice, SAG and BAFTA – will tackle the debate of virtual vs in-person.
A spokesperson for the SAG Awards shared, “For our show, we’re looking at a variety of options... We are excited to honour this year’s outstanding performances in both film and television in March. And like our colleagues at other awards shows, we are working to create an entertaining and safe show for all of our nominees.”