Whatever happens, the Oscars ceremony next weekend will be one for the books.
Due to pandemic restrictions, many cinemas have been closed for a year and few of the mostly indie films nominated have been widely seen. There have also been massive rating drops for the Emmys, Grammys, and Golden Globes.
The result is a broadcast that not only has to fight for an audience but also deal with incredible logistics issues in regards to getting people physically involved on the night.
Steven Soderbergh, Stacey Sher, and Jesse Collins are producing the ceremony this year and earlier today took some questions from the media about what their planned unconventional ceremony will entail.
As we know, the ceremony will primarily unfold at Los Angeles’ Union Station and will involve a very short red carpet. It’s expected the attendees will mainly be limited to nominees and presenters, and those who cannot make it to the United States they will accept via Satellite link and not Zoom.
Traditional set COVID protocols are in place, and as for masks Soderbergh says: “masks are going to play a very important role in the story of this evening If that’s cryptic it’s meant to be.”
Soderbergh once again re-iterates that the broadcast will very much be “an experience that has the aesthetics of a film as opposed to a TV show”. He explains:
“On a technical level that means shooting 24 frames per second. That means using a wider screen format. It means compositionally setting up shots that look more like movie shots than television shots where people are not just nailed to the center of the screen all the time. Over the shoulder from within the audience…
We just want the whole thing out of the gate to announce itself as just being different. And if you like movies you’ll feel like you’re watching a movie. The presenters will be playing themselves or at least a version of themselves But, in the writing, we have been interacting with them and are hoping they will bring some of their experience and their movie love to what they say.
I think you need to start from a sincere place. Storytelling is a great catchall for a lot of these types of events, but movie storytelling, we think, is unique. And we want to explain why we think that’s true. And we have the resources through the stories that the nominees have been telling us, as part of the interview process, to really tease out the detail of what makes movies so special, why we connect with them so strongly all over the world.”
A bunch of the telecast will reportedly be pre-taped segments, this includes the original song performances which will be pre-recorded. Four of the contenders will be performing their nominated songs on the rooftop of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures on Wilshire Boulevard in Los Angeles, while the fifth was pre-recorded in Husavik, Iceland.
The performances will also take place during the 1.5-hour pre-show titled “Oscars: Into the Spotlight” airing before the ceremony, not during the actual awards show which has a three-hour runtime at this point.
The pre-show kicks off Sunday, April 25th at 3:30 pm US PT/6:30 pm US ET ahead of the ceremony itself at 5 pm US PT/8 pm US ET.