What The Oscars Could Look Like In 2021

Olivia Blair
·8-min read

From ELLE

Through time, the Oscars have given us some of the biggest pop culture moments in history.

The wrong 'Best Film' winner drama of 2017, for instance. Jennifer Lawrence tripping up on stage to collect her Best Actress gong, Michael Moore's anti-President Bush speech in 2003 and plenty of memorable dresses.

The 2020 Oscars saw the likes of Renée Zellweger, Laura Dern, Bong Joon Ho, Brad Pitt and Joaquin Phoenix win golden gongs for their roles in some of the most standout films of the year including Parasite and Judy.

Little did we know, however, that weeks later the world would be hit by the coronavirus pandemic and that it would put several awards ceremonies and events, such as the Cannes Film Festival and the Met Gala, on hold for the foreseeable.

Here's everything you need to know about next year's Oscars ceremony:

When are the Oscars 2021?

Next year, the Oscars have been postponed by two months, moving its original scheduled date of February 28 to April 25.

Photo credit: Kevin Mazur - Getty Images
Photo credit: Kevin Mazur - Getty Images

Until the early 2000s, the Oscars took place in March or April until the Academy moved it forward to a date in February.

In addition to postponing the event, the BBC reports that the ceremony’s organisers have also extended the qualifying window for awards from December 31 to the end of February next year.

‘This is a much needed boost for those films who may have been stalled in post-production,’ an Academy member recently told Variety.

Where will the Oscars be held?

While there were initial reports that Hollywood's biggest night was on track to be held traditionally with a live audience at the Dolby Theatre with the postponed date, given the continuing threat of the pandemic the plans have been altered.

On February 12, the Academy told The Hollywood Reporter that a multi-location will be the approach for this year's Oscars. It will feature guests and potentially nominees and presenters but in a very different, varied format to what we've seen before from the iconic ceremony.

'In this unique year that has asked so much of so many, the Academy is determined to present an Oscars like none other, while prioritising the public health and safety of all those who will participate,' a spokesperson told THR. 'To create the in-person show our global audience wants to see, while adapting to the requirements of the pandemic, the ceremony will broadcast live from multiple locations, including the landmark Dolby Theatre.'

Photo credit: Albert L. Ortega - Getty Images
Photo credit: Albert L. Ortega - Getty Images

Recent awards ceremonies have featured a blend of pre-taped and live moments in place of live audiences, which is what the Oscars may attempt. The 2020 Emmy's socially-distanced show included footage of winners accepting the awards from their homes while host Jimmy Kimmel ran the proceedings from the Staples Center, audience-free, occasionally joined by the odd celebrity guest at a distance.

All other major award shows have postponed their ceremonies too; the BAFTAs have been pushed back to April 11, the Golden Globes to February 28 weeks later than it's usual end of January slot, while the SAG Awards will be held on April 4.

What changes are the Academy making to improve diversity?

Awkwafina, Zendaya, Ryan Murphy, Cynthia Erivo, Kaitlyn Dever, Constance Wu, Florence Pugh and Olivia Wilde are reportedly just a few of the 819 artists who have been invited to join the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to improve diversity.

The Hollywood Reporter reports that out of the overall number of members, 36 per cent of those invited to join the Academy are people of colour, while 45 per cent are women and 49 percent are based outside of the US.

‘The Academy is delighted to welcome these distinguished fellow travellers in the motion picture arts and sciences,’ Academy President David Rubin has reportedly said in a statement obtained by the publication.

Photo credit: Dimitrios Kambouris - Getty Images
Photo credit: Dimitrios Kambouris - Getty Images

‘We have always embraced extraordinary talent that reflects the rich variety of our global film community, and never more so than now.’

The decision marks the Academy’s latest move to diversify its membership following the #OscarsSoWhite controversy in 2016.

Last month, the Academy announced it was launching the next phase of its equity and inclusion initiative, called Academy Aperture 2025.

The Academy has stated it will guarantee 10 Best Picture nominees beginning with the 2021 Oscars and unconscious bias training will also be made

Who is nominated for an Oscar this year?

On February 9, the Academy released the shortlist for nine of its categories including Best Documentary Feature, International, Make-up and Hairstyling, Music, Best Original Song, Visual Effects, Animated Short, Documentary Short and Live Action Short.

The shortlist features 15 nominations for each category. Here are the nominees for Documentary Feature, Best Original Song (which includes famous faces like John Legend, H.E.R and Celeste) and Best Original Score.

Best Documentary Feature Shortlist

All In: The Fight for Democracy, Boys State, Collective, Crip Camp, Dick Johnson Is Dead, Gunda, MLK/FBI, The Mole Agent, My Octopus Teacher, Notturno, The Painter and the Thief, 76 Days, Time, The Truffle Hunters, Welcome to Chechnya.

Best Original Song Shortlist

'Turntables' - Janelle Monáe, Nathaniel Irvin III, George “George 2.0.” A. Peters II from All In: The Fight for Democracy

'See What You’ve Done' - Mary J. Blige, Darhyl Camper, Jr., Denisia Andrews and Brittany Coney from Belly of the Beast

'Wuhan Flu' - Sacha Baron Cohen, Erran Baron Cohen, Anthony Hines, Peter Baynham, Erica Rivinoja, Dan Swimer, Jena Friedman, Jim Russell, Jerry Holleman from Borat Subsequent Moviefilm

'Husavik' - Savan Kotecha, Rickard Goransson, fat max Gsus from Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga

'Never Break' - John Legend, Nasri Atweh, Benjamin Hudson McIldowie, Greg Wells, John Stephens from Giving Voice

'Make It Work' - John Legend from Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey

'Fight For You' - H.E.R., Dernst Emile II, Tiara Thomas from Judas and the Black Messiah

'Io Sì (Seen)' - Diane Warren, Laura Pausini, Niccolò Agliardi from The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se)

'Rain Song' - Emile Mosseri, Stefanie Hong from Minari

'Show Me Your Soul' - Robert Glasper, Muhammad Ayers from Mr. Soul!

'Loyal Brave True' - Jamie Hartman, Harry Gregson-Williams, Rosi Golan, Billy Crabtree from Mulan

'Free' - Diane Warren, from The One and Only Ivan

'Speak Now' - Leslie Odom, Jr. and Sam Ashworth from One Night in Miami...

'Green' - Abraham Marder from Sound of Metal

'Hear My Voice' - Daniel Pemberton and Celeste from The Trial of the Chicago 7

Best Original Score Shortlist

Ammonite, Blizzard of Souls, Da 5 Bloods, The Invisible Man, Jingle Jangle: A Christmas Journey, The Life Ahead (La Vita Davanti a Se), The Little Things, Mank, The Midnight Sky, Minari, Mulan, News of the World, Soul, Tenet, The Trial of the Chicago 7.

The remaining nominations and the shortened aforementioned categories will be announced on March 15 ahead of the airing of the ceremony on ABC.

Photo credit: Kevin Winter - Getty Images
Photo credit: Kevin Winter - Getty Images

Here's a list of the winners from last year to give you an idea of the calibre of industry workers who were praised for their artistry:

The Oscars 2020 Winners In Full:

Best Picture: Parasite

Actor in a Leading Role: Joaquin Phoenix, Joker

Actress in a Leading Role: Renée Zellweger, Judy

Actor in a Supporting Role: Brad Pitt, Once upon a Time...in Hollywood

Actress in a Supporting Role: Laura Dern, Marriage Story

Photo credit: Rachel Luna - Getty Images
Photo credit: Rachel Luna - Getty Images

Director: Bong Joon Ho, Parasite

Adapted Screenplay: Taika Waititi, Jojo Rabbit

Original Screenplay: Han Jin-won, Parasite

Best Documentary Feature: American Factory

Original Song: '(I'm Gonna) Love Me Again', Elton John, Bernie Taupin

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Who is presenting the 2021 Oscars?

After years of controversial hosts and the job being jokingly referred to as one of the worst to land in Hollywood, the Oscars continued with its theme of being host-less in 2020.

Rather than having one presenter throughout the ceremony, there were a number of stars who presented individual awards and performances instead.

Photo credit: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis - Getty Images
Photo credit: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis - Getty Images

Here are just some of the familiar names who presented at the ceremony:

Jane Fonda, Josh Gad, Tom Hanks, Oscar Isaac, Sandra Oh, Natalie Portman, Chris Rock, Mahershala Ali, Zazie Beetz, Timothée Chalamet, Olivia Colman, Penélope Cruz, Beanie Feldstein, Will Ferrell, Gal Gadot, Salma Hayek, Mindy Kaling, Regina King, Shia LaBeouf, Brie Larson, Spike Lee, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Rami Malek, Steve Martin, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Keanu Reeves, Maya Rudolph, Mark Ruffalo, Kelly Marie Tran, Sigourney Weaver, Kristen Wiig and Rebel Wilson.

It remains to be seen whether the ceremony's organisers will follow the same format next year.

Who will perform at the 2021 Oscars?

It wouldn't be the Academy Awards without some memorable performances like John Legend and Common's moving 'Glory' number in 2015 or the star-studded Les Miserables performance in 2013 or last year's hugely talked about rendition of 'Shallows' by Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper.

Photo credit: Kevin Winter - Getty Images
Photo credit: Kevin Winter - Getty Images

It's unknown who will perform at the 2021 ceremony but the 2020 event saw the likes of Cynthia Erivo, Elton John, Idina Menzel, Chrissy Metz and Randy Newman perform their Oscar-nominated songs.

Eminem also surprised attendees with his rendition of 'Lose Yourself', resulting in some rather amusing reactions among the audience.

How can I watch the Oscars?

In the UK, the Oscars are usually streamed live on Sky Cinema's dedicated Sky Cinema Oscars channel. NOW TV Sky Cinema Pass holders can therefore also watch the proceedings live from the US.

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