The 2021 Oscars are expected to be the lowest-rated yet despite several opportunities to make history.
The 93rd Academy Awards kick off on April 25 amid unprecedented times caused by the coronavirus pandemic. There will be no host, no audience, nor face masks for nominees attending the ceremony at Los Angeles’ Union Station — this year’s hub for a show usually broadcast from the Dolby Theatre.
While this isn’t the first awards show to forge ahead despite the pandemic, the Oscars are breaking from the largely virtual Golden Globes by having locations for the stars to actually attend the event. However, numerous international hubs and satellite feeds will connect nominees unable to travel.
The most noteable change from other pandemic-era award shows is that the red carpet is back. However, it will still be a little different in that only a handful of media outlets will be allowed on site. Casual wear is a no-no. The pre-show on ABC will include pre-taped performances of the five Oscar-nominated songs. The ceremony is available to stream on Hulu Live TV, YouTubeTV, AT&T TV, FuboTV and on ABC.com with provider authentication.
Pulling the musical interludes (though not the in memoriam segment) from the three-hour broadcast — and drastically cutting down the time it will take winners to reach the podium — will free up a lot of time in the ceremony. And producers, led by filmmaker Steven Soderbergh, are promising a reinvented telecast.
OSCARS WILL BE SHOT LIKE A MOVIE, FEATURE BIGGER ROLES FOR PRESENTERS, PRODUCER SAYS
The Oscars will look more like a movie, Soderbergh has said. The show will be shot in 24 frames-per-second (as opposed to 30), appear more widescreen and the presenters — including Brad Pitt, Halle Berry, Reese Witherspoon, Harrison Ford, Rita Moreno and Zendaya — are considered “cast members.” The telecast’s first 90 seconds, Soderbergh has claimed, will “announce our intention immediately.”
But even a great show may not be enough to save the Oscars from an expected ratings slide. Award show ratings have cratered during the pandemic, and this year’s nominees — many of them smaller, lower-budget dramas — won’t come close to the drawing power of past Oscar heavyweights like “Titanic” or “Black Panther.” Last year’s Oscars, when Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” became the first non-English language film to win best picture, was watched by 23.6 million, an all-time low.
Netflix dominated this year with 36 nominations, including the lead-nominee “Mank,” David Fincher’s black-and-white drama about “Citizen Kane” co-writer Herman J. Mankiewicz. The streamer is still pursuing its first best-picture win; this year, its best shot may be Aaron Sorkin’s “The Trial of the Chicago 7.”
But the night’s top prize, best picture, is widely expected to go to Chloé Zhao’s “Nomadland,” a contemplative character study about