The event will return to the Dolby Theatre, as well hold separate live locations at Union Station in Los Angeles, a space in the UK and another in Paris, CNN has learned, in order to account for various international travel restrictions and coronavirus protocols.
A source close to production told CNN that viewers should expect the unexpected.
“It is very different this year,” the insider said, who asked CNN not to include their name because they are not authorized to speak to the media, said, adding “there will be a very small [in-person] audience.”
Producers have said they want as much of an in-person event as possible. Like last year, there will not be a host for the event.
As for how the Academy and producers of the Oscars plan to balance the tone of celebrating film amid the backdrop of the ongoing pandemic and a social justice reckoning, the insider said, “It will be a message-focused awards. It would definitely be a disconnect if there wasn’t an awareness that last year was traumatic for everybody. It’s really putting a spotlight on the voices of people impacted. It’s making space for inclusion and representation and it’s doing that really well.”
The first-time Oscars producers — Steven Soderbergh, Stacey Sher and Jesse Collins — recently spoke about their hopes for the show.
“It’s been tricky. Everything we’re trying to do we’re trying to lead with a strong creative idea. We don’t want Covid being an excuse for anything in terms of the creativity of the show. It’s still got to be an entertaining show,” Soderbergh said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times.
Bong Joon Ho, Harrison Ford, Brad Pitt, Reese Witherspoon, Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Regina King and Bryan Cranston are among the presenters who have been announced.
“We want it to be joyful, and we do want people to rebuild their relationship with going to the movies,” Soderbergh added. “We’re all in a very synchronized place in terms of what the tone has to be. But I guess we’ll find out.”