Oscars 2019 stage 2 c Matt Petit AMPAS

Source: Matt Petit/AMPAS

Oscars 2019 stage

Details have begun to emerge of what will be a severely slimmed down Oscar ceremony on Sunday, April 25, with limited in person attendance and no pre- or post-ceremony in person events. 

As the nominations for the 93rd Academy Awards were announced on Monday (March 15) morning, Academy president David Rubin confirmed that the ceremony will be held at Los Angeles’ downtown Union Station building as well as at the event’s usual home of the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. 

According to a report in Variety, however, Academy members have been informed that only nominees, their guests and presenters will be able to attend the ceremony in person, with the ticket lottery that usually allows other members to attend not taking place. 

The report quoted a letter to members from Rubin outlining “some necessary decisions” made in light of the fact that the Covid-19 pandemic has not yet passed, with Los Angeles only this week moving out of the most restrictive tier of California’s pandemic measures.

The letter said that in person events leading up to the ceremony – like the traditional nominees luncheon, the International Feature Film nominee cocktail reception and public screenings – will not take place this year. Oscar-night watch parties in London and New York and the post-ceremony Governors Ball have also been dropped. 

An Academy spokesperson confirmed the limits on ceremony attendance and the abandonment of in person events. 

Exactly how Union Station will be used by the Academy is not yet clear. The venue is a busy railway and subway hub, though passenger traffic has declined since the pandemic began and was always lighter on Sundays. 

The building, constructed in 1939 in a ‘Mission Moderne’ style, does have large spaces that will facilitate social distancing of presenters and nominees and a photogenic look that will give an extra dimension to TV coverage of the Oscar ceremony. Films that have used the station as a location have included Blade Runner, The Dark Knight Rises and Catch Me If You Can.