There's no Zoom allowed for the 2021 Oscars.
The producers of the 93rd annual Oscars—Steven Soderbergh, Stacey Sher and Jesse Collins—sent a joint email to Oscar nominees on Thursday, March 18, obtained by E! News. The letter explained the rules and expectations for the April 25 ceremony and insisted the event can be done safely during the coronavirus pandemic.
The Academy is planning to host "an intimate, in-person event" at Union Station in Los Angeles with some live moments taking place at the show's traditional venue, the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.
The note explicitly stated, "For those of you unable to attend because of scheduling or continued uneasiness about traveling, we want you to know there will not be an option to Zoom in for the show."
Soderbergh, Sher and Collins said they "are going to great lengths" to provide a "safe and ENJOYABLE evening for all of you in person," adding, "we feel the virtual thing will diminish those efforts" that they're making to give viewers an entertaining show.
They're arranging travel instructions and having an on-site COVID-19 "safety team," with PCR tests on hand, "to ensure you have a safe, carefree evening (a glimpse of the future?)."
In addition to the official in-person ceremony, the 2021 Oscars will also host a 90-minute "pre-show gathering" in the Union Station courtyard. It sounds like a cocktail party of sorts, considering the producers said the intimate gathering will mean "you should be pretty relaxed by show time."
Only presenters, nominees and their guests can attend the pre-show event. "We're aiming for a feeling of casual exchange and good humor," they wrote. It's unclear if this portion will be televised.
Not only are the Oscars changing up the status quo in terms of virtual attendance, but the telecast is also cracking down on pandemic-era dress codes.
As the producers put it, "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."
As for the speeches, the producers said they don't believe the shout outs necessarily go on for too long, but they do have one request regarding how to best accept a statue: "With great freedom comes great responsibility, and if you're wondering what we mean by that exactly, we mean READ THE ROOM. Tell a STORY. If you're thanking someone, say their name, not their title. Don't say MY MANAGER, PEGGY just say PEGGY. Make it PERSONAL."
They noted, "The audience leans back when they see a winner with a piece of paper in their hand."
Ahead of the show, read up on some of the biggest snubs and surprises after the Oscar nominees were announced on Monday, March 15.