This year’s Oscars ceremony will be a little different than the virtual award shows people have been seeing since the start of the pandemic. Director Glenn Weiss, who’s helming this year’s event, is opening up about why they won’t be using Zoom, and how they will still be keeping people safe.
ET learned back in March that producers of the 93rd Academy Awards are opting for a small, intimate ceremony for this year’s awards show that would forgo the virtual hybrid elements that most show’s over the past year have implemented — to various degrees of success.
ET’s Kevin Frazier recently spoke with Weiss, who explained that the decision to keep the ceremony almost entirely in-person comes from a desire to celebrate this year’s biggest movies and those responsible for making them without taking away from the fun and glamor of the experience.
“I think to a certain degree we all have gotten a little bit of Zoom fatigue,” Weiss shared. “As a result of that, we really wanted to bring a celebration without distraction. We wanted to bring something where people at home are a part of it and are experiencing this room in a same way.”
“We just really just wanna focus on honoring this industry and honoring the craftspeople in this industry,” Weiss added.
The acclaimed TV director explained that he also feels that a human presence will elevate the ceremony, and the experiences of those in attendance and those on stage.
“I really do miss the sound of an audience. I miss the feeling of when somebody tells a joke and everybody responds, you know?” he shared. “I think there’s something really great about that, that we’re ready to bring it back to the world… Let’s get ourselves back into an environment where performers can perform live.”
That being said, the reason for so many virtual events has obviously been an issue of safety. However, Weiss stressed that keeping everyone safe and healthy is the show’s primary concern, over even the ceremony itself.
“We’re doing everything that we can,” he explained. “We are working with the county, we are working with every consultant, every person who is a part of this project, COVID is the number one conversation…. meaning, ‘How do we do this and keep everybody who’s here safe?'”
“This is about the nominees, this is about the crew, this is about anybody who’s in this building,” he continued. “We just need to do this as best we can, so the protocols and guidelines that have kept the film industry afloat is exactly what we’ve adapted to get the show going.”
“We obviously are here to celebrate people but keeping them safe is the number one goal,” he added.
The majority of the event will take place in Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles — a first for the show. According to Weiss, it is the perfect location to have a small, safe, exciting event that will really feel like a classic Hollywood award show.
“We needed an environment that was more intimate,” he said. “We’re not doing a standard show with 3,000 people here, you know? We’re fortunate enough that we’ll be able to gather some folks right now. But we needed a space that we have to ourselves, [where we can] create an environment that we can safely be able to execute the show.”
In an email sent out to the nominees back in March, the show’s producers detailed the “safe and enjoyable” evening they have planned for the April 25th telecast.
The news came just days after it was announced that the 2021 ceremony would only be open to presenters, nominees and their guests. The producers shared that while stories matter, people matter most as they try to safely navigate the new reality of awards season in a pandemic.
“Of course, your first thought is CAN THAT BE DONE SAFELY? The answer is YES, IT CAN. We are treating the event as an active movie set, with specially designed testing cadences to ensure up-to-the-minute results, including an on-site COVID safety team with PCR testing capability,” the producers explained. “There will be specific instructions for those of you traveling in from outside of Los Angeles, and other instructions for those of you who are already based in Los Angeles.”
Fans also won’t be seeing any tie-dye hoodies at the Oscars. The dress code states that casual is not going to fly at film’s biggest night.
“You’re wondering about the Dress Code (as well you should). We’re aiming for a fusion of Inspirational and Aspirational, which in actual words means formal is totally cool if you want to go there, but casual is really not,” the producers explained.
Check out the video below for more on this year’s big show.
The 2021 Oscars air live on Sunday, April 25 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC. In the meantime, stay tuned to ETonline.com for complete Oscars coverage.
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