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Oscars Attendees Won't Have to Wear Face Masks on Camera as Third of Show's Budget Goes to COVID Safety

Alexia Fernández
·3-min read
Oscars Attendees Won't Have to Wear Face Masks on Camera as Third of Show's Budget Goes to COVID Safety

The 2021 Academy Awards won't make face masks a requirement during its live ceremony this Sunday.

Oscar nominees, their guests, A-list presenters and other attendees won't have to cover their famous faces as cameras roll during the telecast this weekend, according to Variety.

Due to the theatrical nature of the live ceremony, masks won't be required for those shown on camera as the award show will be filmed like a movie, an Academy rep explained during a Monday morning Zoom meeting with nominees and publicists, the outlet reported.

When those in attendance are not on camera, they will be asked to wear their face masks at all times, such as during commercial breaks.

Audience capacity will also be capped at 170 people with audience members being rotated in and out of the ceremony, according to Variety.

RELATED: Oscars 2021 Director, Producers Talk Plans for 93rd Show: 'It's Not Going to Be Standard Awards Show Fare'

A third of the Oscars production budget has been allotted to COVID-19 safety protocols, according to The New York Times.

Bryan Bedder/Getty Academy Awards

The safety protocols for the show include "specially designed testing cadences to ensure up-to-the-minute results, including an on-site COVID safety team with PCR testing capability, reports the NYT.

On Saturday, during a virtual press conference held by show producers Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh, the trio said that the impact of COVID-19 will be highlighted throughout the show and masks will "play a very important role" in the story that the ceremony is trying to convey.

"If that's cryptic, it's meant to be," said Soderbergh. "But that topic is very central to the narrative."

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"I think movies are a large portion of how we have gotten through this incredibly difficult year," added Sher. "And I think you have to look at the films as well — whether they're period [or] whether they're contemporary — they are about the times that we live in."

She continued, "And they're beautiful, they're moving, sometimes they're painful, but ... we need to have hope to move forward. So we have to acknowledge what we've been through, and the historic losses we've been through, but we also have to fight for cinema and our love of it and the way it has gotten us through things."

RELATED: Andra Day Says It's a 'Little Overwhelming' Being Nominated For an Oscar Alongside Viola Davis

The show's theme is "Stories Matter," and the producers asked those invited to take part in interviews where they'll share their own personal stories to connect each of them at the ceremony this Sunday.

On the topic of dress code, the producers previously told attendees to avoid casual attire.

"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," they said in a previous statement.

The 93rd Academy Awards will air live on Sunday, April 25 starting at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC.