In a Tuesday meeting for the studio and personal reps of Oscar nominees, producer Steven Soderbergh called the logistics of organizing this year’s ceremony “mind-numbing.” The producers announced they would add venues in London and elsewhere for participants who are not able to travel because of COVID restrictions.
Soderbergh and co-producer Stacey Sher apologized for the confusing guidelines and reiterated that the producers are still figuring out this year’s challenging ceremony.
“London is 100 percent confirmed. We’re in negotiations with the location. We cannot share it with you yet. There are not more tickets…it is nominees plus one,“ Sher told the meeting attendees.
The meeting, which was twice postponed, took place over Zoom on Tuesday morning.
All performances for the original song category will be performed in Los Angeles, the producers noted. It has not yet decided if attendees will be asked to wear masks when seated.
Producers revealed in a letter to nominees on March 18 that there would be no Zoom options for nominees who were unable to attend the ceremony, a decision that was met with backlash from foreign nominees and others who were shooting projects in other countries. “We are going to great lengths to provide a safe and enjoyable evening for all of you in person, as well as for all the millions of film fans around the world, and we feel the virtual thing will diminish those efforts,” they wrote.
Nominees and presenters were told they would be allowed one guest each to the ceremony, which will be held as an open-air production at Union Station in downtown Los Angeles. Musical performances are believed to be taking place at the Dolby Theatre. Later, as Variety exclusively reported, attendees learned that producers were mulling plans to rotate groups of people in and out of the area where the awards are being handed out as a COVID precaution. Cleaning crews would sanitize chairs and tables between the rotations.
Academy reps have been mum on any plans other than what the producers’ letters explained. As with any plans being made during the pandemic, participants are being told that the situation is fluid and nothing will be set in stone until the day of the Oscars.
The Oscars were originally set to take place February 28, but were postponed due to the pandemic.
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