I admit I almost spat when I saw that the Academy would not require Covid vaccinations to attend the Oscars next month. After all, most film and TV productions now force people to get vaxxed; the SAG Awards and Critics Choice have a mandate; and, at least in LA county, you can’t even get into a movie theater without a vax card.
But the more I thought about it, the more I applaud the Academy. For once, he’s made a decision that’s likely unpopular with his members, but will almost certainly result in better Oscar coverage. Remember that only about two-thirds of Americans are vaccinated. That number is likely much higher among Academy members and Oscar nominees, but even so, there are still plenty of stars and filmmakers who aren’t — that’s just math. Allowing these people to attend the show after testing negative will result in more stars in the room and on stage, plain and simple, and that’s about all people watch at the Oscars to see. At a time when viewership has reached historic lows, this show must all possible lures.
Before inviting me to a Robert Kennedy join me or book me on Joe Rogan, let me just say that I’m all for movie and TV set tenures because a) it’s the right thing to do, and b) let’s face it, everyone is replaceable. But the Oscars can not replaces a nominee or one of the winners from last year, who, by tradition, returns to present the following year. These are set by voters. So the options are either to decline entry and potentially eliminate a great TV moment from an unvaccinated winner, or to drop the warrant. Academy leaders Dawn Hudson and david rubin chose the latter, and unless the stars refuse to attend because there is no mandate— which, given member politics, is a real possibility, and would be another example of the Academy collectively shooting itself in the foot — it’s ultimately the best decision.
Premium: I am discussing this topic with Masters Kim this week Deals podcast (here), and Oscar nominations in general with Pierre Hamby on Puck The powers that be pod (here).