Producers of COVID-Era Oscars: “It’s Not Going to Be Like Anything That’s Been Done Before”
“I know it’s not going to be like anything that’s been done before, so we’re leaning into that,” Steven Soderbergh, the Oscar-winning filmmaker and one of the three producers of the 93rd Oscars telecast scheduled for April 25 — along with Jesse Collins and Stacey Sher — said during a press conference teasing the show on Saturday morning.
The trio addressed the press via Zoom from Union Station, the primary venue of several around the world where nominees will gather two Sundays from now.
“It’s going to be a very sincere show, and it’s also going to be optimistic,” added Collins, who was also a producer of this year’s COVID-impacted Super Bowl halftime show and Grammys. “It’s going to show us where we can go in the future. And I think that’s exactly what the Oscars needs to be at this time.”
“We have to acknowledge what we’ve been through,” added Sher, who produced Soderbergh’s prescient 2011 film Contagion, “but we also have to fight for cinema,” noting the recently announced of the closure of Arclight theaters, including Hollywood’s Cinerama Dome.
Asked if the telecast could have been pulled off for its originally-scheduled Feb. 28 date, both Soderbergh and Collins said, “It would have been impossible,” crediting the uptick in vaccinations and testing for making it possible now. Soderbergh noted, “I’m in the middle of shooting my second film during COVID. We [now] know how to approach situations like this.”
The trio continued to emphasize, as they have done in other interviews and statements, their plans for the telecast to look cinematic — “You’ll feel like you’re watching a movie,” Soderbergh said — and essentially operate like a movie, with presenters playing versions of themselves, working from scripts crafted based on pre-show interviews and emphasizing the communal nature of the film industry by equally celebrating big ‘names’ and below-the-line contributors.
Soderbergh, asked whether nominees will be required to wear masks, said deliberately “cryptically”: “Masks are going to play a very important role in the story of this evening.”