The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences finally laid out its Covid plan for next month's broadcast and it also includes differing mask policies for audience members.
As Covid continues to be a factor across the globe while people are trying to return to some semblance of normalcy, there has been a wide range of policies presented about when and where people need to wear masks, be vaccinated or show negative Covid tests. This year's Oscar's ceremony seems to have every policy at once.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences finally laid out its policy, but you might need to work up a quick cheat sheet to keep up with it. As detailed by The New York Times, people are being split into different categories, and those categories are subject to different expectations.
Nominees and guests will be expected to show proof of vaccination. They must also have two negative PCR tests. In other words, if you want to walk up on stage and give the acceptance speech of your life, you'd better be vaccinated and testing negative.
If, however, you've been invited by the Academy to perform or present those same awards, don't worry about it.
The policy for presenters and performers is entirely different, as they do not have to show proof of vaccination. They will, however, be subject to "rigorous" Covid testing to ensure they are testing negative. Newly announced hosts Wanda Sykes, Amy Schumer and Regina Hall would presumably fall into this category.
Hopefully, for any nominees a little nervous about interacting closely with potentially unvaccinated presenters, the show will continue recent traditions of having the presenters step way back as the winners come forward.
That disparity in policy continues into the audience, though these decisions are probably more about the visual aesthetic of a televised broadcast. Los Angeles established and continues to maintain a mask exception for film, television and music production with additional safety protocols.
For the Oscars, anyone in those sections of the Dolby Theater nearest to the stage won't be required to wear a mask. But in line with recent awards shows, seating will be more spaced out than in the past.
Meanwhile, up in the mezzanine, those guests will be required to mask up. Further, according to the report, the Academy is limiting guests inside the theater to only 75 percent of its total capacity.
Deadline notes that there was some question about whether or not Van Morrison, who is strongly anti-vax, would be able to perform his nominated song "Down to Joy" from "Belfast." With this new policy in place, he appears welcome to perform.
However, if he were to win, would he be allowed to come up and accept as a nominee? While there is not specific clarity on those who are both presenters/performers and nominees, one could reasonably assume that the presenters/performers policy would take precedence.
This also establishes a room filled with people who are both vaccinated and unvaccinated, though all parties will be tested. But if you're going to allow people in the audience and on stage who are not vaccinated, why also have a policy requiring that some of those attendees (nominees) must be vaccinated?
"The 94th Academy Awards" airs March 27, 2022 at 8 p.m. ET on ABC