The New York Times reported yesterday that all nominees and invited guests at the Oscars will need to show proof of vaccination and at least two negative P.C.R. tests in order to attend the awards show in March. Seems perfectly reasonable. However, performers and presenters will only need to be tested in accordance with the COVID protocols from L.A. County’s Department of Health and won’t have to show proof of vaccination. So what gives? Why wouldn’t you just require that everyone be vaccinated? Obviously, the answer is that some people they know to be performing or presenting remain unvaccinated, and aren’t going to get the shot just to sit through almost four hours of awards they either aren’t nominated for or will probably lose.
Here’s an interesting paragraph from a Hollywood Reporter article about this year’s protocol:
Some industry insiders have speculated that the Academy is being less stringent than it could be because more than a few high-profile industry figures — including at least one of last year’s acting winners and prominent members of the casts of multiple best picture nominees, as well as nominees in other categories — would otherwise be precluded from attending the Oscars.
With that in mind, let’s do some wild speculation about who might be exempted from the vaccine requirement, and who might end up skipping the ceremony altogether.
As last year’s Best Actress winner, McDormand is slated to present Best Actor this year. Of her fellow winners from last year, both Anthony Hopkins and Youn Yuh-jung are confirmed vaccinated (we’ll get to Daniel Kaluuya in a moment). McDormand is tricky to read because she seems like the kind of liberal feminist boomer who would be first in line to get a shot, but it’s also not hard to imagine her saying that her body is sacred and gives her all that she needs to protect herself. A point in favor of her being vaccinated is that she attended the New York Film Festival last fall for The Tragedy of Macbeth, which required full vaccination for everyone in attendance.
I do not think that McDormand would procure a fake vaccine card just to go to the New York Film Festival, which leaves us with Kaluuya as the unvaccinated acting winner mentioned by THR. Based on Getty Images results, the Judas and the Black Messiah actor has not attended a high-profile event since last year’s Oscar ceremony. You can make your own deductions from that information, but I just think it’s interesting.
Josh Brolin and/or Oscar Isaac
I heard on good authority that at least one of the men in the Dune cast wasn’t vaccinated at the time of its premiere at the Venice Film Festival in September, and it wasn’t Timothée Chalamet. Now that Dune has been nominated for Best Picture, keep your eyes peeled for which Dunesman isn’t present to support his film. I have a sense that it’s either Oscar Isaac or Josh Brolin, neither of whom attended Dune red carpet events after Venice — notably, Jason Momoa was at each one. It wouldn’t be the worst fate if Brolin didn’t show up, but who doesn’t love to see Isaac in a tuxedo?
Listen. Listen. I don’t want this to be true. But! Consider why the Oscars would make an exemption for performers specifically. I doubt it’s so we can all have the pleasure of watching Reba McEntire sing Diane Warren’s latest attempt at finally winning an Oscar. The Oscars have been struggling to capture viewers for years, and one of the only ways to get people to tune in is star power. Who has more star power than Beyoncé, who is nominated for “Be Alive” from King Richard? And if Bey said that she wasn’t vaccinated and wasn’t going to get vaccinated, wouldn’t you change the rules to accommodate her? Just something to think about. But also — Beyoncé did not attend the ceremony when JAY-Z was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, at which proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test was required. You’d think you’d go to that if your husband was being honored.
I mean, this one is basically confirmed. Morrison, who is nominated for Best Original Song for “Down to Joy” from Belfast, has been outspoken in his opposition to lockdowns and vaccine mandates — so much so that he was sued by Northern Ireland’s health minister for defamation. In 2020 Morrison released three songs protesting lockdown, and later that year he wrote another protest song for fellow freedom fighter Eric Clapton. Unfortunately, I do like the Belfast song, and will pay attention while he fills the room with his respiratory droplets.
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