Oscars telecast tries to turn into a movie, with varying success


Like pretty much everything on TV lately, the telecast of the 93rd Academy Awards looked different thanks to the coronavirus pandemic – but the producers seemed to be trying to embrace the idea to create an interesting mix of winks. eye to diversity, old Hollywood and the movies themselves.

In the past, the Oscar TV look was often filled with elegant reds, blacks and golds to fit into the palette of gold statuettes and the red carpet. While those colors and elements didn’t fade from the Sunday April 25 show, there was a decidedly diverse look graphically.

Awards shows typically use a lot of the same shots – wide panoramic views of the audience, those boxes of nominees zooming in on the winner (with the other nominees clapping politely), and tight shots on the presenters and winners.

This year, Jesse Collins, an actor, Stacey Sher, a producer, and Steven Soderbergh, the great director and producer behind “Ocean’s Eleven,” “The Laundromat” and (ironically) “Contagion” among a host of other works, co-produced broadcasting, a task that included working around COVID-19 protocols.

Last year’s Oscars took place in February 2020, about a month before widespread lockdowns forced other awards to change their formats.

The Oscars are updated with LED tape strips and video walls

Soderbergh’s influence was particularly noticeable from the top, thanks to a single-take style of presenter Regina King walking from the outdoor lounge – built outside the alternative Union Station location in Los Angeles – to the indoor presentation decor. Both spaces were designed by the Rockwell group, who also designed the interior of the Oscar’s normal home, the Dolby Theater.

The Rockwell Group PR firm has not responded to repeated requests for additional comment for this story beyond the original press release announcing the design strategy.


Producers also used a variety of effects to add the look and feel of a Hollywood movie – including off-center framing that prevented presenters and winners from looking straight into the camera, spectacular rack focal points and more. depth, texture and a distinct lighting design.

One of the recurring references to the movies was the fact that the live-action portions of the telecast had a letterbox (note how the ABC bug sprawls under the live image) in the black area, which means the black bars at the top and bottom were meant to be seen. .

Presenters and winners were typically shot off-center and off-center, which meant they weren’t looking into the camera. The larger “ live ” screen area, slightly wider thanks to the letterbox, could be filled with an Oscar statuette perched on a pedestal next to the person to help reduce physical contact with the person. price realized from behind the scenes. Other blocks included blurry views of the audience or backgrounds.

Color typography that mixed a geometric sans serif with a vintage script serif in a variety of color combinations was used at the top of the series to mimic the movie credits, as this screen “ presents ” mimicking the credits of studio that many films use.

The presenters were also listed on the single-take pocket photo of Regina King marching with ‘star’ billing.

Old Hollywood glamor found its way into the multi-level ensemble that was limited to on-site nominees and close friends or family, thanks in large part to the golden railings and wraparound frame. The set also featured “ live photo frames ” that could alternate with the colorful, often geometric designs, coordinated with the show’s insert graphics. These were also used to showcase historical photographs, usually in black and white.

Nominees were identified on screen with rectangular, multi-colored graphics and typography to match the open. The colors of these and the views of the box changed throughout the broadcast, with the live video panels around the set being updated to match.

The candidate streams were placed inside boxed designs like this “five box” approach. Note that most fullscreen graphics apps like this have lost the mailbox.

The awards with fewer nominees used a variety of layouts that also incorporated the colorful designs.

For the popular “in memoriam” segment, the photographs were combined with a faceted look of angles and blurred colors in a variety of styles, some of which follow. These looks focused on the colorful look of the rest of the graphics in the series, but had more depth and parallax effects than the flatter graphics used elsewhere in the series.

As previously announced, the nominees sat at a variety of banquet and cafe tables throughout the space, some of which had custom-designed Oscar-themed lamps. As part of the more dramatic cinematic lighting approach, shots of the whole of Union Station often looked a bit dark with little to no backlighting (in all fairness, the high ceilings probably would have made this difficult without installing extensive rigging). Despite the show’s attempts to be more diverse, it seemed to affect people with darker skin more. The lighting also had to account for the changing light coming from the station’s 12-meter windows, and later that evening the shots got even darker.


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