The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences really ought to have the “science” stripped from their title because of their decision to hold an in-person-only ceremony in the middle of a global pandemic. Yes, I said middle! CNN reports that in the U.S. alone, only 13% of the population have been fully vaccinated, though I’m sure 98% of Hollywood probably has (Good luck getting a free donut at the Krispy Kreme in Burbank past 9 am). Last week the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Stunting announced that they will not be allowing any nominees to accept awards remotely. That means if they want to pick up their Oscar, they have to be physically present at the ceremony which is being held on April 25th at Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles. This has understandably been met with pushback from nominees who would have to travel at a time when many restrictions and quarantines are still in place due to the ongoing presence of a potentially deadly disease that’s floating around the world, desperate to find a nice juicy nostril to set up shop in.
Considering last year’s broadcast had the lowest ratings to date, (with good reason) the producers of this year’s telecast, Steven Soderbergh, Jesse Collins and Stacey Sher, have a lot of damn nerve expecting us to tune in to watch Glenn Close and maybe Amanda Seyfried sitting in a nearly empty train station while pretending to laugh as Brad Pitt cracks a few dad jokes as a favor to his old pal Steven (like the last two years, there is no host for the show). Because a whole lot of the other nominees would have to move heaven and earth to get there. According to Deadline:
This is causing headaches not only for those nominees who would be coming from international locales, but also publicists and studios/distributors who have to foot the bill and deal with the nightmare logistics of getting their contenders into the U.S. and Los Angeles, variants be damned. The complaints from those on the front lines are loud and the Academy has been hearing from them directly.
One source with scores of nominees situated around the globe told me the cost of hotel stays for two weeks or more, including the required 10 days of quarantine, will “bankrupt” their entire budget, not to mention the problems caused for some nominees who are working — if they wanted to come to the Oscars it might mean shutting down their productions for the better part of the month of April just for quarantining considerations alone that would have to take place both leaving and returning from all points international, many of them like Italy, France, the UK and more in various stages of lockdown or severe restrictions on travel.
The UK, for instance, is about to charge a £5000 penalty for travelers caught leaving for anything other than urgent business, medical reasons, etc. Is running off to Hollywood to win an Oscar related to urgent work? One publicist told me they don’t know what they will do but have an editing nominee in Greece, a filmmaker in Paris, an acting nominee in England, another in an “undisclosed” location but not L.A., with various nominated producers in the same boat.
The movie industry has already been fucked sideways this year, so it’s a weird call to suddenly get precious about the ceremony. And despite some of the history-making nominations this year, the producer’s decision to not allow remote acceptance threatens to belittle those gains. This is the first time the Academy has nominated two women for Best Director and one of them, Emerald Fennell, has already said she’s not sure if she can make it.
The #Oscars have issued a mandate that there will be no Zoom acceptance speeches during this year’s telecast, but that decision is causing consternation among nominees, who are worried they won’t be able to make the trek to Los Angeles. https://t.co/JppYuWsRKV pic.twitter.com/BkoUnk4Sek
— Variety (@Variety) March 24, 2021
So do the right thing Academy of Motion Pictures and Self-Importance! If Glenn has to finally get her Oscar for fucking Hillbilly Elegy, at least let her Zoom in from her bed in a fabulous housecoat!