Tom Santilli is a respected journalist and member of the Critics Choice Association, Detroit Film Critics Society and Online Film Critics Society since 2010. Tom is the Executive Producer and co-host of the syndicated TV show, "Movie Show Plus," which has been on the air for 20+ years in the Metro-Detroit market and Mid-West. He is also the film critic for WXYZ-TV.
After the year we've all just endured, whose game for a celebration? Well, Hollywood is for one. The 93rd Annual Academy Awards - The Oscars - will air live on Sunday, April 25th, 2021, at 8pm EDT onABC and will undoubtedly be a different kind of awards show than we've ever seen before. So what's different? And what can you expect on Sunday? You've come to the right place.
Here's all the info you'll need to ready yourself for this year's Oscars, an annual event that this year, will hopefully not just celebrate film, but will act to restore our faith in them...to rekindle our love of movies, the movie-going experience and that yearning for a shared experience that we're all craving. Let's get to it!
What are the Oscars?
OK, I've never been asked that question quite so precisely before, but just in case you are wondering or need a refresher, The Academy Awards (nicknamed "The Oscars") are the most prestigious of all honors in the movie industry, and Oscar Sunday is a day for celebrating all things movies. Held for the very first time in the Blossom Room of the Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in 1929, the awards ceremony wasn't televised until 1953 but was covered by radio broadcast as early as 1930. Over their 92 year history (this year is the 93rd), a total of 3140 Oscar statuettes have been handed out.
What is "The Academy"?
"The Academy" is short for the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), and consists of nearly 10,000 members, all of whom are professionals across all branches of the filmmaking industry.
How does the voting work?
For the nomination phase, each of The Academy's 17 branches nominates within their own branch...only directors vote for Best Director, only costume designers vote for Best Costume Design, etc. The entire Academy votes for Best Picture nominations. Once the nominees are set, the entire Academy also votes on the winners in each category. The Best Picture category was expanded in 2009 to include up to 10 nominated films...to qualify, a film needs to get at least 5% of first-place votes. Current rules state that there can be between five and ten Best Picture nominees, but this will change starting next year (the 2022 awards), where there will be a firm 10 nominated Best Picture films.
How did the pandemic affect the Academy Awards?
Like several other industries, the movies were hit hard in 2020, with theaters across the country closing down completely or running at severely limited capacities for a portion of the year. Normally, a film would only be eligible if it was released theatrically at some point during the calendar year...however, this year the in-theater eligibility rule was waived, allowing streaming films to qualify, and the eligibility window was expanded to include films released through February 2021. This is the first time since the 6th Academy Awards in 1935 that films released in two different calendar years would be eligible during the same awards ceremony.
How will the pandemic impact the actual Oscar telecast?
First, the original date of the broadcast was postponed from February 28th, 2021 to April 25th, 2021...the latest its ever been held to celebrate the previous year's films. We won't quite know exactly how the telecast goes until it airs, but show producers Steven Soderbergh, Stacey Sher, and Jesse Collins are promising not only something completely different than in past years, but something unique that has not quite been done with other award shows that have already aired this year. They made waves recently when they announced that the Oscars will indeed be "Zoom-less," but instead of requiring all attendees to fly out to LA, The Academy has set up several "satellite sites" around the world for guests to attend...from London to Paris to New York.
What can we expect from the actual Oscar telecast?
Soderbergh has announced that he wants his Oscar telecast to feel like an actual movie, but the details of this idea are hazy at best. This could be a cool idea or it could be setting up the Oscars for epic failure. But viewers can expect wide-angle lenses, a score (via Questlove), and shots that are perhaps more cinematic than ever before. According to Indiewire, the hostless show will use "guides" to take the audience through this three-hour "movie," and will try to engage viewers in ways never attempted before.
Sadly but expected perhaps, is that there will be no "red carpet" like we're used to seeing. Instead, a pre-taped 90-minute "Oscars: Into the Spotlight" special will air leading up to the start of the live ceremony, hosted by Ariana DeBose and Lil Rel Howery. The pre-show will feature the Oscar-nominated songs, which will not be repeated again during the live telecast.
What films and performances are nominated this year?