“The COVID-19 pandemic has upended the live awards show experience, with the 2020 Oscars one of the last major U.S. trophyfests to play out in a normal fashion, with a live audience and without socially-distanced or mask-wearing stars and guests, not to mention largely free of the fear of a deadly, contagious disease hanging over the proceedings.Source: Hilary Lewis, The Hollywood Reporter
“But just a little more than a month after Parasite was crowned best picture in the crowded Dolby Theatre, non-essential businesses began shutting down and people were urged to stay home and socially distance to slow the spread of the then-novel coronavirus, awards show producers also had to adjust to this new normal, figuring out how to hand out trophies in a way that was safe, made the audience and talent feel comfortable and still entertained viewers at home.”
AT A GLANCE:
The Hollywood Reporter asked producers at the 2020 MTV VMAs, E! People’s Choice Awards, Billboard Music Awards and American Music Awards how their COVID-19-era productions were mounted, and their biggest takeaways from the experience. Safety was the number one concern across the board, with producers scrambling to work with safety experts to develop workplace protocols for their crews.
Preparation was also a key concern as productions were forced to develop numerous contingency plans for a range of logistics scenarios, including last-minute venue changes. Producers also leaned on extended reality (XR) and other virtual technologies to reduce points of contact between crew and talent while maintaining a smaller footprint. Other concerns included making on-screen talent as comfortable as possible within safety guidelines, and the use of live audience environments to raise engagement with viewers at home.