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No Zoom for intimate 2021 Oscars

Producers say the Academy Awards in April will be an in-person gathering, limited to nominees, presenters and their guests

View of the old ticketing concourse at the Downtown Los Angeles Union Station on March 18, 2021, where part of the 2021 Oscars Ceremony will take place. - Academy president David Rubin confirmed this year's Oscars would be broadcast from Los Angeles' cavernous Union Station as well as its traditional Dolby Theatre home in Hollywood. (Photo by VALERIE MACON / AFP) (AFP)

The Oscars ceremony in April will be an intimate, in-person gathering, held without Zoom and limited to nominees, presenters and their guests, the producers said on Thursday.

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the show to hand out the highest honors in the movie industry will be held both at the Union Station in Downtown Los Angeles and the traditional home of the Academy Awards at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood.

Everyone will be tested, and there will be a COVID-19 safety team on site throughout the evening on April 25.

"There will not be an option to Zoom in for the show," producers Steven Soderbergh, Jesse Collins and Stacey Sher said in a note to the more than 200 nominees this year.

"We are going to great lengths to provide a safe and enjoyable evening for all of you in person, as well as for all the millions of film fans around the world, and we feel the virtual thing will diminish those efforts," the producers added.

They said nominees and their guests would gather at a courtyard in the Union rail station, while other show elements would be held live inside the Dolby Theatre some 12.9 km away.

Additionally, each nominee was asked to consent to an interview discussing their journey to award season, as per Fox News. "We want to highlight the connections between all of us who work in the movies and show that the process is uniquely intimate, collaborative and fun," reads the letter.

The dress code? Casual wear—which has frequently been seen in remote shows like Jason Sudeikis wearing a sweatshirt for the Golden Globes—is discouraged. Instead, the letter advises attendees to wear an outfit that's "a fusion of inspirational and aspirational".

Normally, hundreds of the world's top movie stars would gather in the 3,400-seat theatre for a live show preceded by a red carpet packed with photographers and camera crews. Other awards shows in recent months have replaced the usual gatherings at gala dinners and on stage with pre-recorded appearances or virtual events or a combination.

Television audiences have slumped, with the Golden Globes and the Grammys attracting the smallest numbers in decades.

Nominations for the Oscars were announced on Monday, with 1930s Hollywood drama Mank leading the field with 10, followed by The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Nomadland, Promising Young Woman, Sound of Metal and The Trial of the Chicago 7.

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