Red-carpet revival: Oscars 2021 bans ‘casual dress’ and Zoom

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Zoom is out and the red carpet is back. 

The team behind Oscars 2021 refuses to let the pandemic’s new normal continue: Show producers Steven Soderbergh, Stacey Sher and Jesse Collins have sent a letter to all of the nominees informing them that head-and-shoulders virtual appearances and “casual dress” are disallowed from the upcoming 93rd annual Academy Awards. 

“For those of you unable to attend because of scheduling or continued uneasiness about traveling, we want you to know there will not be an option to Zoom in for the show,” reads the letter, acquired by Deadline. “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.”

And while black tie is not mandated, sweatpants are forbidden. 

“You’re wondering about the Dress Code (as well you should). 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 letter warns. 

Movies’ biggest night will be held in person at downtown LA’s Union Station as well as the event’s traditional venue, Hollywood’s Dolby Theatre, a pandemic feat which will be accomplished by treating the event like an active movie set. 

“Of course, your first thought is CAN THAT BE DONE SAFELY?” the producers preempt. “The answer is YES, IT CAN. We are treating the event as an active movie set, with specially designed testing cadences to ensure up-to-the-minute results, including an on-site COVID safety team with [polymerase chain reaction] PCR-testing capability.” 

This year, invitees to the real-time gathering are limited to nominees, their guests and the Oscar presenters. The rest of the world can tune in to ABC on Sunday, April 25 at 8 p.m. EST. 

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