April 13, 2021

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We can all relate to a little bit of Zoom fatigue after a year of the pandemic, but the producers of next month’s Academy Awards may have taken theirs a bit too far.

The Academy is “facing major pushback” after producers declared that nominees may not attend this year’s mid-pandemic Oscars remotely via Zoom and will only have the option of delivering acceptance speeches in person, Variety reports. After all, numerous nominees are currently overseas in places where COVID-19 cases have been up, and they might not be able to travel to Los Angeles.

For instance, Nomadland director Chloé Zhao and Promising Young Woman director Emerald Fennell are reportedly both outside of the United States at the moment, meaning they could potentially miss their film winning Best Picture or not be able to give an acceptance speech if they become only the second woman to win Best Director.

“The idea of missing it is so awful, and I can’t bear to think about it,” Fennell told Variety.

There’s also the fact that, according to Variety, the Academy might ask nominees to quarantine for between five and 14 days before the show — and so, Deadline writes that for those currently working on movies or shows, going to the Oscars “might mean shutting down their productions for the better part of the month of April.”

Producers with this Zoom ban are likely hoping to avoid the disaster of the 2021 Golden Globes, which faced numerous technical glitches while having nominees join remotely, although last year’s Emmys made this format work fairly well. Now, though, they’re under pressure to reverse the decision, which nominees believe is “unsafe and impractical,” Variety says. It remains to be seen whether they back down, but we’ve already seen some wildly unpopular Oscar ideas in recent years be announced and then quickly reversed due to backlash — including the short-lived “popular film” Oscar — so this wouldn’t be the show’s first rodeo. Brendan Morrow

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