Oscars producers detail COVID-19 safety plans for 2021 ceremony

Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh say creating 2010 pandemic thriller 'Contagion' has helped them prepare

The producers of this year’s Oscars have detailed how they plan to make next week’s ceremony as safe as possible amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The 2021 Oscars will take place on April 25, and see the implementation of “hubs” for European-based nominees to appear in London and Paris.

The news followed the organisation’s initial and controversial “no-Zoom rule,” which aimed to encourage all nominees to travel to Los Angeles for the ceremony.

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Speaking to Deadline ahead of this year’s ceremony, producers Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh spoke of the plans being put in place to ensure a safe ceremony.

Sher and Soderbergh also said that creating 2010 pandemic thriller Contagion gave them good experience on how to host events during a global health crisis.

“We’ve had a lot of practice,” Soderbergh said. “This industry was at the forefront of creating protocol to get people back to work safely. It started with The Safe Way Forward last June (which Soderbergh spearheaded) and then was formalized in a negotiation with the Producers in September.

“I am in the middle of shooting my second film during Covid. We know how to approach situations like this. It is incredibly labor intensive, it is incredibly complex logistically, and it’s expensive.”

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The Oscars (Picture: Getty)

“This is all going to be part of the narrative of the evening, how we have gotten people back to work and what is involved exactly in doing that,” he added. “There is that sort of strand that is going to run throughout the program of following the science of keeping people safe.

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“The whole situation has been incredibly fluid in making sure that we are adhering to the guidelines in terms of capacity, and how we are allowed to move people, and how long we are allowed to keep them in certain places. This is an ongoing conversation with L.A. County. There is no universe in which we are ever going to put anybody at risk.

“We are hoping to combine safety with a show that feels like a glimpse of what is going to be possible when most people are vaccinated and rapid testing is the norm. Covid is going to be there, because it is everywhere. But we want to put it in its place and then sort of move forward.”

This week, it was revealed that Oscar nominees and their guests will be permitted to attend the 2021 awards ceremony in person using an essential worker waiver.

The 93rd Academy Awards, which is due to be broadcast from Union Station, LA and the Dolby Theatre, will allow attendance provided nominees and guests complete the necessary documentation, quarantining and testing ahead of the event.

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