Oscars 2021 hire Contagion director Steven Soderbergh to produce ceremony ‘responding directly’ to pandemic

Academy describes the night as the ‘perfect occasion for innovation’

Louis Chilton
Wednesday 09 December 2020 11:51
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Contagion - UK Trailer

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has hired Contagion director Steven Soderbergh to co-produce next year’s Oscar ceremony.

Soderbergh is known for directing the 2011 pandemic thriller Contagion, along with other acclaimed films including Sex, Lies and Videotape and Ocean’s Eleven.

According to the ceremony’s organisers, the show will “respond directly” to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Next year’s Oscar night has already been pushed back by two months as a result of the pandemic, with the night now set to be held at the end of April.

The Academy has stressed that the event is a “perfect occasion for innovation and for re-envisioning the possibilities for the awards show”.

In a statement, Soderbergh and his collaborators said: “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.” 

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

It is still unknown exactly what form the event will take, given the uncertain nature of future social distancing restrictions and guidelines. 

Soderbergh’s Contagion has seen a surge in interest amid the ongoing pandemic

The film industry has been devastated by the effects of the pandemic, with the majority of 2020’s tentpole movies being rescheduled for next year.

Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi blockbuster Tenet was the largest theatrical release since the first lockdown began, though its box office performance was widely considered a disappointment.

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Last week, Warner Bros announced that its slate of 2021 releases would be released simultaneously on the HBO Max streaming service, a move that has drawn criticism from industry figures including Nolan.

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