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Oscars 2021 audience not required to wear face masks when camera rolls

The academy says attendees should still mask up during commercial breaks, according to a report.

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The Oscars will be treated like an "active movie set."
Matt Petit via Getty Images

When the television broadcast of the 93rd Academy Awards cuts to the audience for reaction shots Sunday, attendees won't be wearing face masks. Or at least they won't be required to. The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is treating this year's Oscars ceremony like a TV production, which means talent isn't required to wear a mask when on camera, according to a report from Variety. And that includes the audience.

The academy, according to Variety, is still asking that people don masks when not on camera during this year's live ceremony, however, so the audience will be expected to wear a face covering during commercial breaks. The event is taking other safety precautions, as well: Temperature checks will be mandatory, according to Variety, and attendees must undergo at least three COVID-19 tests in the days before the ceremony. 

The event's rules for masking align with the outline it sent attendees in March. These guidelines stated that the Oscars will be treated like an "active movie set." This includes an on-site COVID safety team with rapid testing capability and "specially designed testing cadences to ensure up-to-the-minute results."

The ceremony will be spread out over two main locations this year: Union Station and the Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles. Seating will be limited to just 170 spots, and attendees will be given an itinerary that will tell them when it's their turn to join the live audience. The red carpet experience will also be scaled down. 

The academy didn't immediately respond to a request for comment. 

This isn't the first time the academy has made a potentially controversial decision regarding coronavirus protocols. Last month, it announced it wouldn't allow Zoom acceptance speeches at this year's event, potentially cutting off nominees who don't feel safe traveling to LA for the awards show. The decision didn't sit well with some, so a production team is working to set up satellite locations outside the US.