Photo: Getty Images
Photo: Getty Images

We've all spent nearly a year without movie theaters, and it sure hasn't been easy. With COVID-19 quarantine restrictions in space, there's been nowhere to go to watch some of Hollywood's greatest productions.

Just kidding. Movies are everywhere these days, just not on the big screen, and if you've wanted to catch them, they've almost all been either on TV, or streaming apps, or both.

So where does this leave the 2021 Academy Awards, an event designed to celebrate the best in big screen entertainment?

When are the Oscars happening?

The 93rd annual Academy Awards, designed to honor the best films released between Jan. 1, 2020 and Feb. 28, 2021, will take place at the Dolby Theater in Hollywood on April 25.

Academy Sets Ensemble Cast Of 15 Stars To Serve As Presenters

Photo: promo presenter poster
Photo: promo presenter poster

The producers of this year’s very unusual 93rd annual Academy Awards have promised to do the entire broadcast as if it were a movie itself. In line with that, they are “casting” it that way too with an ensemble of 15 stars to handle all the presenting duties, and also in lieu of a host (for a third straight year).

Among the “cast” though, the producers appear to be sticking with at least one Oscar tradition: to have all four acting winners from the previous year return to present the four acting categories this year. Specifically how they will be employed into the show the Academy didn’t say, but you can assume that is the reason Joaquin Phoenix, Renee Zellweger, Brad Pitt and Laura Dern are part of the proceedings.

Phoenix, Zellweger, and Dern did the honors similarly at the Golden Globes, though Pitt will be making his first appearance on the awards circuit this year at the Oscars. Last year’s Best Director winner, Bong Joon Ho, who made four trips to the stage for Parasite, is also part of this ensemble, presumably to present Best Director. Other names announced Monday — in alphabetical order — are Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Bryan Cranston, Harrison Ford, Regina King, Marlee Matlin, Rita Moreno, Reese Witherspoon and Zendaya.

“In keeping with our awards-show-as-a-movie approach, we’ve assembled a truly stellar cast of stars,” said producers Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh. “There’s so much wattage here, sunglasses may be required.”

This idea of having a set group of presenters rotating in and out of the show is not new. When producer Gower Champion reimagined the 1969 Oscar show, he created what they called “Friends of Oscar,” with 10 stars exclusively serving as presenters (and no host). The format was then repeated successfully the next year, and has been tweaked occasionally over the decades — including for the innovative 2009 show produced by Bill Condon and Laurence Mark, which used combinations of five past winners each to present the acting awards.

Isn't April a little late for the Oscars?

It sure is: Most Academy Award shows are held in late February or early March.

The disruption in the industry due to quarantines, which led to entire productions being put on hiatus or shut down, has sent everyone into a spin. In addition, the eligibility period was expanded to cover films released as late as the end of February.

This is only the fourth time the Oscars have been postponed. The others were following Los Angeles flooding in 1938; after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. in 1968 and after the attempted assassination of President Ronald Reagan in 1981.

It is also the first time since the sixth awards ceremony in 1934 that films released in two different calendar years are eligible for consideration in the same ceremony.

Who is nominated?

Photo: Internet
Photo: Internet

David Fincher's Mank, about the making of Citizen Kane, is the most nominated film this year, with 10 total nods. Following with six nominations each are The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Nomadland, Sound of Metal, and The Trial of the Chicago 7. Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman also received five nods.

Who's hosting the Oscars this year?

No one has been announced. The show has had no host for the past two years, and there's a good chance 2021 will continue that new tradition. Presenters are still to be determined.

What other changes have been made for 2021?

Aside from the changes mentioned above, they're very specific, wonky changes: Sound Mixing and Sound Editing categories have been, well, mixed down into one category; and now the Original Score category will require that 60 percent of the entry be original music to qualify, to state two examples.

****READ MORE: List of All 37 Netflix Oscar Nominations for 2021

Will it be in person or mostly virtual?

In a letter to Oscar nominees from show producers Steven Soderbergh, Stacey Sher, and Jesse Collins, they revealed that "the plan is to stage an intimate, in-person event at Union Station in Los Angeles, with additional show elements live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood."

In order to do this safely, the note says, "We are treating the event as an active movie set, with specially designed testing cadences to ensure up-to-the-minute results, including an on-site COVID safety team with PCR testing capability." Specific instructions will be given to guests traveling from outside of Los Angeles as well as to those who are already in the city.

The Oscars are taking a different tack than the Golden Globes or Emmys. For those who do not wish to or are not able to attend in person, there will not be a Zoom component they can rely on. "There will not be an option to Zoom in for the show," the letter reads. "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."

The note also mentions a dress code ("formal is totally cool if you want to go there, but casual is really not") and instructions for speeches during the evening ("tell a story," "read the room," and "make it personal").

Due to backlash from the letter, in particular from Academy members overseas who worry that because of COVID restrictions they won't be able to travel to Los Angeles, the Academy announced March 30 that it would add venues in London and other locations for those members to attend in person.


BAFTA Film Awards 2021: Completed List of Winners, ‘Nomadland’ is Big Winners, Predictions for Oscars BAFTA Film Awards 2021: Completed List of Winners, ‘Nomadland’ is Big Winners, Predictions for Oscars

BAFTA Film Awards 2021 has come to an end and movie lovers can prepare a list of the winner of the upcoming Oscars. Let's check ...

Promising Young Woman - Oscars Best Pictures Nominees: Where to Watch, Casts, Plot Promising Young Woman - Oscars Best Pictures Nominees: Where to Watch, Casts, Plot

With four nominations at the Golden Globes, "Promising Young Woman" making its way to be a bright nominee for Oscars' "Best Motion Picture". Let's check ...

2021 Oscar: Full List of All Nominated Movies and Where to Watch it online 2021 Oscar: Full List of All Nominated Movies and Where to Watch it online

Dear Readers, 2021 Oscars is so close, and all the nominees have been revealed for all the fans and movie lovers worldwide. If you are ...

Where to Stream Oscars Where to Stream Oscars' Best Picture Nominees

The nominees for the 2021 Oscars has been revealed, with eight movies vying for Best Pictures that have so much potential to win the greatest ...