Oscars 2021: Director Steven Soderbergh hired to 're-envision' ceremony

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Steven Soderbergh won best director at the 2001 Academy Awards

US director Steven Soderbergh will co-produce the 2021 Oscars, which organisers say will "respond directly" to the effects of the Covid pandemic.

Soderbergh is known for films like Erin Brockovich, Contagion and Traffic, which won him an Academy Award in 2001.

According to the Academy, April's ceremony will be the "perfect occasion for innovation and for re-envisioning the possibilities for the awards show".

Soderbergh and his collaborators said they were "thrilled and terrified".

He will stage the ceremony on 25 April with fellow producers Jesse Collins and Stacey Sher.

"Because of the extraordinary situation we're all in, there's an opportunity to focus on the movies and the people who make them in a new way," they said in a statement.

"We hope to create a show that really FEELS like the movies we all love."

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Soderbergh will work with Jesse Collins and Stacey Sher

It is not known what form the event will take, but the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences is reportedly exploring how an in-person ceremony could work.

Recent awards, like this week's Scottish Baftas, have been held semi-virtually in line with social distancing guidelines.

Soderbergh rose to fame when his debut feature, Sex, Lies, and Videotape, won the Palme d'Or at Cannes in 1989.

Contagion, originally released in 2011, has enjoyed a new lease of life this year due to its prescient similarities to the coronavirus pandemic.

Let Them All Talk, his latest collaboration with fellow Oscar winner Meryl Streep, premieres this week on HBO Max.

The director worked with Sher on Contagion as well other films such as Erin Brockovich and Out of Sight.

Collins has produced numerous awards shows and events including the Grammys and the BET Awards.

The Academy president David Rubin and CEO Dawn Hudson said it had assembled "a dream team who will respond directly to these times".

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Oscar-winning Steven Soderbergh director on why he is turning his back on film

"The Academy is excited to work with them to deliver an event that reflects the worldwide love of movies and how they connect us and entertain us when we need them the most," they said.

The 2021 Oscars ceremony had been due to take place on 28 February, but was pushed back by two months to give film-makers additional "flexibility".

The eligibility window has been accordingly extended to the end of February, with nominations set to be announced on 15 March.

Audience ratings for this year's Oscars fell to an all-time low, with 23.6 million US viewers tuning into the live ABC broadcast.

South Korea's Parasite made history at the ceremony by becoming the first non-English language film to win best picture.

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