When the 2021 Oscar nominations were announced in March, it was clear this year's ceremony would be anything but ordinary. Film lovers rejoiced over groundbreaking milestones, such as Chloe Zhao becoming the second women ever to nab a directing nomination and Riz Ahmed and Steven Yeun making history as the first Muslim and Asian American men, respectively, up for Best Actor. But that's not the only way the Academy is switching things up. On March 18, the Academy of Motion Picture Art and Sciences revealed the 2021 Oscars ceremony will be filmed in a location that breaks from tradition.
Instead of the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, where the Oscars have been filmed since 2002, this year's ceremony will take place mainly at Los Angeles' historic Union Station. According to The Hollywood Reporter, a letter to attendees from the show's producers read, "the plan is to stage an intimate, in-person event at Union Station in Los Angeles." However, certain components of the show will still be filmed live at the Dolby. Although most details are still under wraps, it's speculated that musical performances will take place at the theater.
Unlike recent award shows, there will be no option for guests to attend the Oscars via Zoom. The letter revealed the Academy decided a virtual event would "diminish efforts," to create an enjoyable experience for both attendees and film fans. However, there are expected to be safety measures in place to help the show be as safe as an in-person mega-event can be. The Academy letter stated the event would be treated like, "an active movie set," with PCR testing and an onsite COVID safety team, among other precautions. Plus, for some guests who may be unable to travel due to the pandemic, the Academy has set up in-person events in London and other locations around the world. (It's unclear whether these gatherings will also be a part of the live televised broadcast.)
Another change from recent award shows: Although Jason Sudeikis may have proved that accepting awards in hoodies can be cool, the Academy is requiring this year's guests to leave the casual attire at home, encouraging participants to dress up instead: "We’re aiming for a fusion of Inspirational and Aspirational, which in actual words means formal is totally cool if you want to go there, but casual is really not," the Academy letter said.
Having two filming locations in L.A. isn't the only coronavirus-related change-up. The Oscars, which usually happen in February, will air two months later than usual. You can watch it on ABC on Sunday, April 25, at 8 p.m. ET.