The 2021 star-studded Oscars ceremony, which was held at the Dolby Theatre and Union Station, went off without hitch on Sunday (local time). While the awards were mostly unexpected and unpredictable, the producers revealed how the crew worked 'tirelessly' to ensure everyone's health and safety amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
During the 93rd Academy Awards, Dr Anne Rimoin, a professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health, who was one of the important crew members of the awards spoke to People Magazine and provided details how the ceremony ensured everyone's safety despite the current health crisis, including having guests go maskless for the evening. "The number of experts who collaborated to ensure everyone's safety tonight is bigger than the cast of most blockbuster movies," Rimoin said while calling herself a "huge movie fan".
"By implementing health protocols, wearing masks, social distancing and continually testing right up until showtime, so many people — scientists, doctors, unions and more — worked tirelessly to make tonight's Academy Awards possible," she continued in her interview with People Magazine. Concluding her message, the health expert then made a plea to viewers, to get vaccinated against COVID-19. David Rubin, the president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, also detailed the behind-the-scenes vision for the show in his speech during the broadcast.
He spoke that the primary goal for the Academy this year was to actually assure that there will be an event that will "honour these amazing filmmakers for their extraordinary work this year and to do it safely and hopefully to lead the way toward a light at the end of the tunnel where we will be able to join our friends and our families and our coworkers at parties and dinners and ideally in movie theatres, where they can see these films as they were intended to be seen."
People Magazine reported that Rubin further thanked the producers- Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh for organising the event along with the top epidemiologists. "They have orchestrated an environment that is 100 per cent safe for these nominees and their guests, and we look forward to the rest of the world participating in these kinds of events," he added. The star-studded ceremony did not make face masks a requirement during the live broadcast. Oscar nominees, their guests, A-list presenters and other attendees were not required to cover their faces as cameras roll during the telecast, People Magazine reported.
However, those in attendance who were not on camera were asked to wear their face masks for the whole event, such as during commercial breaks. Audience capacity was also limited to 170 people with audience members being rotated in and out of the ceremony. According to People Magazine, a third of the Oscars production budget was allotted to COVID-19 safety protocols. Therefore, it included "specially designed testing cadences to ensure up-to-the-minute results, including an on-site COVID safety team with PCR testing capability".
The 93rd Academy Awards ceremony took place two months later than originally planned, due to the impact left by the COVID-19 pandemic on the entertainment industry. The nominations for the 93rd Academy Awards were announced on March 15 this year. This is only the fourth time in history that the Academy Awards were postponed.