Everything to know about the 2021 Oscars
The awards season that never ends has finally all come down to this.
The Oscars are fast approaching, and they promise to be one for the books, for better or for worse. From the uncertainties provided by COVID-19 to the many possibilities for history to be made, Hollywood's biggest night should be anything but dull.
Will Riz Ahmed become the first Muslim man to win Best Actor? Will Anthony Hopkins become the oldest Best Actor winner ever? For just the second time in Oscars history, will a woman win Best Director?
As we prepare to find out, EW is rounding up all the information you need ahead of this year's ceremony.
When are this year's Oscars?
Held much, much later this year on account of the pandemic, the Oscars will air Sunday, April 25. The ceremony will be televised live on ABC at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.
Where are they being held?
For the first time ever, part of the annual awards show will take place at Los Angeles' historic Union Station in addition to its usual venue, the Dolby Theatre. Exact details are still to come, but a spokesperson for the Academy tells EW that the group "is determined to present an Oscars like none other, while prioritizing the public health and safety of all those who will participate." This will include the creation of an "in-person show our global audience wants to see, while adapting to the requirements of the pandemic."
Is there a pre-show?
Yes! For the first time ever, there will be an official pre- and post-show to the Oscars.
Hosted by actors Ariana DeBose and Lil Rel Howery, the 90-minute pre-show special, dubbed Oscars: Into the Spotlight, will highlight the nominees' journey to Hollywood's biggest night, give fans around the world the ultimate insiders' sneak peek to the party and, for the first time, the nominated Best Songs will be performed as part of the festivities. The show will also feature a special appearance by DJ Tara. The special will air starting at 6:30 p.m. ET/3:30 p.m. PT on Sunday, April 25.
Airing right after the awards show, the post-show special will be hosted by Colman Domingo (Zola) and Andrew Rannells (The Prom). Oscars: After Dark will feature interviews by film critic Elvis Mitchell, and will recap the evening's must-see moments and showcase the Oscar winners as they have their statuettes personalized.
Will it be in person or mostly virtual?
In a letter to Oscar nominees from show producers Steven Soderbergh, Stacey Sher, and Jesse Collins, they revealed that "the plan is to stage an intimate, in-person event at Union Station in Los Angeles, with additional show elements live from the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood."
In order to do this safely, the note says, "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 PCR testing capability." Specific instructions will be given to guests traveling from outside of Los Angeles as well as to those who are already in the city.
The Oscars are taking a different tack than the Golden Globes or Emmys. For those who do not wish to or are not able to attend in person, there will not be a Zoom component they can rely on. "There will not be an option to Zoom in for the show," the letter reads. "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 note also mentions a dress code ("formal is totally cool if you want to go there, but casual is really not") and instructions for speeches during the evening ("tell a story," "read the room," and "make it personal").
Due to backlash from the letter, in particular from Academy members overseas who worry that because of COVID restrictions they won't be able to travel to Los Angeles, the Academy announced March 30 that it would add venues in London and other locations for those members to attend in person.
How do I watch the 2021 Oscars?
The easiest way to tune in is on ABC, but the ceremony will also be live-streamed for viewers living in participating markets at abc.com or with the ABC app by signing in with a participating TV provider, such as Apple TV, Roku, or Fire TV (see the full list of participating providers here). Once you've signed in, watch at abc.com/watch-live or select "live TV" in the ABC app.
Stay tuned for more info on how to watch the Oscars if you don't have cable.
Who is hosting the Oscars?
The Oscars went without a host the last two years, and the Academy has not announced a host for the 2021 ceremony.
Who will be there?
Last year's acting winners — Joaquin Phoenix, Renee Zellweger, Brad Pitt and Laura Dern — will be on hand to present, as will Bong Joon Ho, Angela Bassett, Halle Berry, Don Cheadle, Bryan Cranston, Harrison Ford, Regina King, Marlee Matlin, Rita Moreno, Reese Witherspoon, and Zendaya. The Academy later announced that Riz Ahmed and Viola Davis (both acting nominees this year for Sound of Metal and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom, respectively) would round out the show's all-star cast.
Who is nominated?
David Fincher's Mank, about the making of Citizen Kane, is the most nominated film this year, with 10 total nods. Following with six nominations each are The Father, Judas and the Black Messiah, Minari, Nomadland, Sound of Metal, and The Trial of the Chicago 7. Emerald Fennell's Promising Young Woman also received five nods. See the full list of nominations here.
What else should I know?
Emmy-winning director Glenn Weiss, who has helmed numerous live televised events, including five previous Oscars shows, has been tapped to direct this year's Academy Awards.
"Our plan is that this year's telecast will look like a movie not a television show, and Glenn has embraced this approach and come up with ideas of his own on how to achieve this. We're thrilled to have him as part of the brain trust," said Collins, Sher and Soderbergh in a statement announcing the news.
This article will be updated as more news is announced.
Check out The Awardist podcast for interviews with this year's top contenders for the Oscars and more of Hollywood's biggest awards.