Oscars 2021: 'Contagion' director Steven Soderbergh to produce pandemic-struck ceremony

Due to the current state of the world, 'there's an opportunity to focus on movies and the people who make them in a new way', says the filmmaker

Next year's pandemic-hit Oscars will be produced by Contagion director Steven Soderbergh, the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences has announced.

The ceremony, set to take place on Sunday, April 25, has already been postponed due to the pandemic, with film eligibility rules relaxed due to the lack of open cinemas.

The ceremony's format, such as how much will take place physically, still remains unclear.

But the Los Angeles-headquartered Academy on Wednesday, December 9, unveiled "a dream team who will respond directly to these times" in creating the show.

"The upcoming Oscars is the perfect occasion for innovation and for re-envisioning the possibilities for the awards show," said president David Rubin and chief executive Dawn Hudson in a statement.

"The Academy is excited to work with them to deliver an event that reflects the worldwide love of movies and how they connect us and entertain us when we need them the most."

Soderbergh – who won a Best Director Oscar for 2000's Traffic – will be joined in planning the ceremony by former Grammys producer Jesse Collins and Django Unchained producer Stacey Sher.

Soderbergh and Sher previously worked together on Erin Brockovich as well as Contagion, which was praised at the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic for its eerie prescience.

The 2011 virus drama starring Gwyneth Paltrow and Matt Damon featured social distancing, makeshift hospitals and rows over quack cures long before Covid-19 made these commonplace.

Soderbergh was even tapped to lead a taskforce on reopening the film industry by Hollywood's directors union earlier this year.

With most of California, including Los Angeles, under a new lockdown due to Covid-19, organisers have yet to decide whether the 93rd Oscars will take place in person, emulate television's Emmys which took place "virtually" in September, or opt for some combination of the two.

Quote
Because of the extraordinary situation we're all in, there's an opportunity to focus on the movies and the people who make them in a new way

"We're thrilled and terrified in equal measure," said Soderbergh in a joint statement with Collins and Sher.

"Because of the extraordinary situation we're all in, there's an opportunity to focus on the movies and the people who make them in a new way, and we hope to create a show that really feels like the movies we all love."

The ceremony has been postponed by eight weeks, while the cut-off date for Oscar-eligible films was extended by two months to the end of February.

The Academy – seen as the apex body of the Hollywood film industry – also eased eligibility rules to allow films that skip the big screen and appear on streaming platforms to contend for Oscars.

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Aston martin DBX specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8

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Aston martin DBX specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 542bhp

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Price: Dh848,000

On sale: Q2, 2020
 

Aston martin DBX specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

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Top speed: 291kph

Price: Dh848,000

On sale: Q2, 2020
 

Aston martin DBX specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 542bhp

Torque: 700Nm

Top speed: 291kph

Price: Dh848,000

On sale: Q2, 2020
 

Aston martin DBX specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 542bhp

Torque: 700Nm

Top speed: 291kph

Price: Dh848,000

On sale: Q2, 2020
 

Aston martin DBX specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 542bhp

Torque: 700Nm

Top speed: 291kph

Price: Dh848,000

On sale: Q2, 2020
 

Aston martin DBX specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 542bhp

Torque: 700Nm

Top speed: 291kph

Price: Dh848,000

On sale: Q2, 2020
 

Aston martin DBX specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 542bhp

Torque: 700Nm

Top speed: 291kph

Price: Dh848,000

On sale: Q2, 2020
 

Aston martin DBX specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 542bhp

Torque: 700Nm

Top speed: 291kph

Price: Dh848,000

On sale: Q2, 2020
 

Aston martin DBX specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 542bhp

Torque: 700Nm

Top speed: 291kph

Price: Dh848,000

On sale: Q2, 2020
 

Aston martin DBX specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 542bhp

Torque: 700Nm

Top speed: 291kph

Price: Dh848,000

On sale: Q2, 2020
 

Aston martin DBX specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

Power: 542bhp

Torque: 700Nm

Top speed: 291kph

Price: Dh848,000

On sale: Q2, 2020
 

Aston martin DBX specs

Engine: 4.0-litre twin-turbo V8

Transmission: nine-speed automatic

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Top speed: 291kph

Price: Dh848,000

On sale: Q2, 2020