The Oscars 2021: everything you need to know ahead of this month’s awards

Excitement grows ahead of this month’s Oscars which will be the 93rd Academy Awards ceremony. This year’s event will be a little more special than most that had gone before it as there were genuine fears the awards wouldn’t happen.

Rumours were rife late last year that the Oscars would be either cancelled or take place behind closed doors in a near-abandoned studio. Some believed it would be an entirely virtual meeting with hosts, actors, directors and other celebrities of the silver screen dialling into a massive Zoom meeting.

Thankfully, these proved to be nothing more than rumours, and, as they say in the business, the show must go on. There will be a live event, stars will be in attendance, and awards will be handed out. Organisers aim to keep the evening as close to normal as possible.

Those unable to make it to the Oscars in person – perhaps your invite was lost in the post like ours – can follow the evening live on television or through a live stream. In this article, you’ll find everything you need to know ahead of the Academy Awards ceremony.

Where and when

This year’s event will be the 93rd Academy Awards and will be held at Dolby Theatre in Los Angeles, California. The date for your diary is April 25, 2021. The date was pushed back two months due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak and resulting restrictions. The awards will honour the best films of 2020 and the first few months of 2021.

Safety measures

This year’s Oscars will have a theme, as it usually does, but the theme chosen is designed to maximise safety for all involved. There won’t be one host of the event but instead, several hosts who present awards. The aim is to limit contact, and the time people spend out of their seats and on stage. This is a new approach, but it’s unlikely to catch on and be re-used for future Oscars ceremonies.

Director Glenn Weiss aims to create a live studio set environment, something most actors and film crew have become used to in recent months and are comfortable with. Similar restrictions have been in place throughout the movie industry for much of the last 12 months, which should help minimise confusion.

Produced by Jesse Collins, Stacey Sher and Steven Soderbergh, the Oscars 2021 will involve coronavirus testing and other measures to help sanitise the venue. Everyone in attendance will be required to commit to a COVID test, and a rapid result will be available. This could soon make its way into everyday life and become the norm at all public mass gatherings.

Stars of the show

All the usual categories are covered this year, and the stars of cinema are out to shine. Below is a list of some of the most popular categories with the major candidates in each.

Best Picture

The hot favourite to win Best Picture this year is Nomadland, an American-made movie that has drawn rave reviews since its release last year. This title is predicted to win the award by a comfortable distance. It will rate as a significant shock to everyone in the industry if the envelope contains anything other than Nomadland.

There are others in the category, of course. The main danger to Nomadland is The Trial of the Chicago 7, Minari and Promising Young Woman.

Best Actor

The list of winners of this award over the years reads like a who’s who of the industry. Many massive names have won the prize, and plenty more famous actors have come up short. Who will join the list this year?

The favourite is Chadwick Boseman, and, like the category above, it’s not expected to be competitive. Boseman is the pick of most experts to be named best actor, and if he does as expected, it would be nothing short of deserved. Others in the running include Anthony Hopkins, Riz Ahmed and Steven Yeun.

Best Actress

The race to become this year’s best actress at the Oscars is a tight one, and the voting should be more competitive than in the best actor. There have been some standout performers in this category over the last 12 months or so, and anyone of those included in the shortlist would make a worthy winner.

More than a few have tipped Carey Mulligan, and she sits just ahead of Viola Davis in the predictions tables. Frances McDormand and Andra Day also have claims on the prize and will take all the beating. This could be the most fascinating award of the evening and will keep everyone guessing until the winner is revealed.