"The number of experts who collaborated to ensure everyone's safety tonight is bigger than the cast of most blockbuster movies," said Dr. Anne Rimoin said ahead of the ceremony for the 2021 Oscars

By Nicholas Rice
April 25, 2021 08:18 PM
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The 93rd Academy Awards are going off without a hitch amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic thanks to a team of many who worked hard to ensure everyone's health and safety.

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 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."

During the broadcast, David Rubin, the president of the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences, also spoke about the evening, detailing the behind-the-scenes vision for the show.

"The primary goal, really, in this year, where we've been facing so many challenges and so many changes, was to actually assure that there will be an event that will honor these amazing filmmakers for their extraordinary work this year and to do it safely and hopefully to lead the way toward a light at the end of the tunnel where we'll be able to join our friends and our families and our coworkers at parties and dinners and ideally in movie theaters, where they can see these films as they were intended to be seen," he said.

Listen below to the episode of our daily podcast PEOPLE Every Day for more on the 2021 Oscars. 

Thanking the producers behind this year's ceremony — Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh — Rubin noted that the trio organized the event "along with the top epidemiologists."

"They've orchestrated an environment that is 100 percent safe for these nominees and their guests," he added. "And we look forward to the rest of the world participating in these kinds of events."

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Ahead of the Oscars, Variety reported that the ceremony wouldn't make face masks a requirement during the live broadcast.

Oscar nominees, their guests, A-list presenters and other attendees won't have to cover their famous faces as cameras roll during the telecast, the outlet reported.

Due to the theatrical nature of the live ceremony, masks won't be required for those shown on camera as the award show will be filmed like a movie, an Academy rep explained during a prior Zoom meeting with nominees and publicists, Variety added. 

When those in attendance are not on camera, they will be asked to wear their face masks at all times, such as during commercial breaks. Audience capacity will also be capped at 170 people with audience members being rotated in and out of the ceremony, according to the outlet. 

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A third of the Oscars production budget has been allotted to COVID-19 safety protocols, according to The New York Times.

The safety protocols for the show include "specially designed testing cadences to ensure up-to-the-minute results, including an on-site COVID safety team with PCR testing capability, reported the Times.

During a virtual press conference held by show producers Collins, Sher and Soderbergh ahead of the ceremony, the group said that the impact of COVID-19 will be highlighted throughout the show and masks will "play a very important role" in the story that the ceremony is trying to convey.

"If that's cryptic, it's meant to be," said Soderbergh. "But that topic is very central to the narrative."

"I think movies are a large portion of how we have gotten through this incredibly difficult year," added Sher. "And I think you have to look at the films as well — whether they're period [or] whether they're contemporary — they are about the times that we live in."