What will the 2021 Oscars look like? Glamorous set design unveiled for Union Station ceremony

Hollywood's biggest night may have been scaled down, but that doesn't mean it's scrimping on star power

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It's no understatement to say the 93rd Academy Awards will be an entirely different affair.

Held amid the backdrop of the Covid-19 pandemic, there will be a smaller red carpet, missing international stars and a socially distanced ceremony.

However, the 2021 Oscars aren't letting travel and safety restrictions completely dampen Hollywood's glitziest night.

This year's ceremony will be predominantly broadcast from Los Angeles's historic Union Station, which first opened in 1939, with a sleek and slick set recently unveiled for the Sunday awards.

According to designs from the Rockwell Group, helmed by architect David Rockwell, guests and viewers alike can expect a mindfully spacious interior that doesn't compromise on star power.

Banquettes will line the interior while the front lawn will be transformed into an outdoor lounge, with a raised stage area, colourful foliage and dramatic lighting.

"We're transforming Los Angeles Union Station into an intimate amphitheatre that draws inspiration from some of the Academy's very first ceremonies," the design and architecture company added on Instagram.

Rockwell Group has previously designed sets for the 81st and 82nd Oscars, held at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood, the ceremony's usual venue. This year, the theatre will only host live performances, while satellite hubs have been set up in London and Paris for international nominees.

A number of stars have already been confirmed to appear in person at the Los Angeles ceremony, including presenters Brad Pitt, Halle Berry and Bong Joon-ho.

“The producers were clear that they were committed to doing this in a different way and looking at alternative venues,” Rockwell told AP. “We thought about ways to create the elegance of the earliest Oscars."

The first ever Oscars featured an intimate banquet with only 270 guests, held at The Hollywood Roosevelt Hotel in 1929.

Union Station, meanwhile, will accommodate up to 170 guests in the main room at any one time for the 2021 ceremony, as per Covid-19 protocols.

"It's not about spectacle, it's about storytelling," Rockwell said.

Union Station, which recently underwent a $4.1 million restoration project, is no stranger to the stars, having provided a backdrop to a number of productions, including Blade Runner, The Dark Knight Rises and Pearl Harbour.

Show producers Steven Soderbergh, Jesse Collins and Stacey Sher have promised that this year's Oscars, which were delayed by two months owing to the pandemic, will be unlike "anything that's been done before".