No Masks! How 2021 Oscars Will Be More ‘Normal’ But Still COVID-Safe

Oscars Statue
Carlo Allegri/Getty Images

There’s no question that this year’s Oscars ceremony will look different from it has in the past, because it’s contending with COVID-19 safety protocols.

The 93rd annual won’t be like the glittering bashes we have been used to in the past. But it’s getting back to the way things were, after so many award events were scaled right back due to the pandemic. So, what exactly will the ceremony be like? Below, we’re breaking down everything we know about what’s planned for the awards show, including COVID precautions.

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No Masks, No Problem

The most recent development includes the news that Academy Awards guests won’t be forced to wear masks. According to Variety, attendees appearing on camera will not be restricted to wearing masks. When they aren’t on camera though, they are expected to don face coverings.

The audience capacity of 170 will cut down on the event’s typically grand turnout, and upon nominees’ arrival at the Union Station venue which will likely be an outdoor setup, they’ll be given specific itineraries instructing them on where to be and when.

Red Carpet Revival

While red carpets were hard to come by in the last year, the Oscars are bringing them back but with a limited amount of press on hand. Only three photographers will be present, and just a few outlets will be allowed to report live from the event. A virtual press conference will be taking place backstage and winners will also have an opportunity to chat with ABC’s Kelly Ripa, Ryan Seacrest, and Lara Spencer for additional press coverage.

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(Credit: ABC/Artwork by Magnus Voll Mathiassen)

Virtual Inclusion

After initially announcing Zoom participation would not be allowed, the Academy backtracked and revealed it would let any necessary participants outside of Los Angeles, tune in virtually.

No Extra Events

The Governor’s Ball and Oscars Luncheon, both annual traditions tied to the awards show, were canceled for this year’s event. Both invite the nominees, guests, and other Hollywood bigwigs to celebrate before and after the main event. So, in other words, there won’t be an Academy “class photo” for the 2021 nominees.

New Format

The main event for Sunday, April 25 will be sandwiched between two new specials, Oscars: Into the Spotlight and Oscars: After Dark. The pre-show special, Into the Spotlight, will feature the Best Original Song performances which usually take place during the main show.

Oscars, Sunday, April 25, 8/7c, ABC