Regina King Kicks Off Oscars amid Strict COVID Safety Measures: 'Yes, We Are Doing It Maskless'
"Just like on a movie set, when we are rolling, masks off. And when we're not rolling, masks on," Regina King said in her opening remarks at the 2021 Oscars
After the 2019 Best Supporting Actress winner strutted her stuff up on stage for her opening remarks — where she was joined by her Oscar statue — she said she was "very proud and excited to be here" before noting, "And yes, we are doing it maskless."
"You are probably asking, 'How are they able to do that?' Well, think of this as a movie set — an Oscars movie with a cast of over 200 nominees," said King, 50. "People have been vaxxed, tested, re-tested, socially distanced, and we are following all of the rigorous protocols that got us back to work safely."
"So just like on a movie set, when we are rolling, masks off. And when we're not rolling, masks on. Alright? That's how we do," she added.
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During ABC's Oscars: Into the Spotlight special ahead of the 93rd iteration of the famed awards ceremony, Dr. Anne Rimoin — a professor of epidemiology at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health — spoke about and detailed how the Academy was able to pull off numerous feats despite the current health crisis, including having guests go maskless for the evening.
Calling herself a "huge movie fan," Rimoin, 51, explained, "The number of experts who collaborated to ensure everyone's safety tonight is bigger than the cast of most blockbuster movies."
"By implementing health protocols, wearing masks, social distancing and continually testing right up until showtime, so many people — scientists, doctors, unions and more — worked tirelessly to make tonight's Academy Awards possible," she continued.
Concluding her message, the health expert then made a plea to viewers, noting that "the work is far from over" and that "the path back to the moments we miss is for us to all be vaccinated, and it's free. So please get vaccinated."
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Also in her opener, King admitted that "if things had gone differently this past week in Minneapolis, I might have traded in my heels for marching boots" — no doubt referring to the guilty verdicts in the murder trial of George Floyd's killer, Derek Chauvin.
"I know a lot of you people at home want to reach for your remote when you feel like Hollywood is preaching to you, but as a mother of a Black son, I know the fear that so many live with, and no amount of fame or fortune changes that, okay?" she continued.
"But tonight, we are here to celebrate," added King, whose film directorial debut, One Night in Miami, is nominated in three categories. "This was, indeed, a hard year for everyone. But our love of movies helped to get us through. It made us feel less isolated and connected us when we were apart."
The 93rd Academy Awards are airing live on Sunday, April 25 at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT on ABC.
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