This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by senior entertainment reporter Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.
Amidst all the, well, everything going on in the world, there were two bits of news that may have escaped you this week because with the, well, everything going on there is absolutely no reason you should have paid attention.
That said, here is a longer-than-necessary write-up of those two very things.
It was announced that this year’s Oscars ceremony is going to be pushed back until April due to the coronavirus, while this year’s Emmys ceremony is still going to take place as scheduled in September.
I know. Award shows? In this climate?
They are an indulgence that couldn’t seem more inconsequential right now, except for the crucial fact that they provided something extremely consequential this week: Several hours of distraction while I laughed to myself imagining what the hell a Hollywood award show would look like in the age of social distancing and coronavirus precautions.
The Academy’s decision to delay the Oscars is designed to allow more time for theaters to possibly reopen and festivals to possibly take place, which means a traditional award season could possibly happen—definitely disappointing, given how exciting it could be to see this year’s race shake out in such extreme circumstances. It’s also in hope that there can be some sort of ceremony at the Kodak theater that actual celebrities can safely attend and ABC can air. Hollywood, the land of delusions!
A few days later is when Jimmy Kimmel announced that he will be hosting an Emmys ceremony in September and has no idea what that means or how it could be pulled off.
It’s fun to imagine a Zoom Emmys.
Are nominated celebrities going to hang out in virtual waiting rooms for hours on end waiting for their categories to be called? Is anybody going to get dressed up? Is anybody going to win an Emmy in their pajamas? Will anyone reference the thing all actors joke about, where they say they used to pretend they won while in the shower using a shampoo bottle as a trophy, and actually accept their award in the tub? Or is this an obvious bit that everyone will do?
The Oscars are more fun to think about because the likelihood that there will actually be something in-person happening is so much higher.
Take, as an example, this photo that AwardsWatch founder Erik Anderson shared on Twitter of the recent Baeksang Arts Awards in South Korea, the country’s largest ceremony honoring film and TV. The only people allowed in the audience were nominees, with no plus ones, all sitting in social-distanced seats at least six feet apart from each other.
Look at that! It’s outrageous! I can’t wait for them to do it with Meryl Streep.
Even if things have progressed to a point where restrictions don’t have to be as dramatic, it’s entertaining to think about what the vibe will be like. It almost certainly won’t be back to the normal we’re used to.
I mean, the red carpet alone. God grant me the strength to weather a Giuliana Rancic red carpet interview in these times. “What are you wearing, and would you defund the police?” Actually, that sounds amazing.
Picture the celebrities social distancing from the photographers taking photos of them in what we can only presume are designer masks. “Wow, is that a Swarovski mask? Stunning!” joked my colleague Laura Bradley. (The Daily Beast staff talked a lot about the COVID-19 Academy Awards this week.)
How will presenting the trophies work? Are presenters going to toss the Oscar from one side of the stage to the winner on the other, to ensure they are safely distanced?
And how will the, well, everything going on be addressed? “An In Memoriam segment followed by 100 celebrities singing ‘Imagine’ in masks,” the Beast’s Andrew Kirell joked. Matt Wilstein predicted Tom Hanks, the first Very Famous Person to contract the virus, will host.
After the concerning development that came to light this week, I personally get stuck laughing at the image of fancy celebrities swanning through the coronavirus poop clouds in the Kodak Theater bathrooms. A-list poo particles!
And while it’s slightly off-topic, the assertion that the Emmys are going to go on as planned provides an occasion to look at the state of the race before official voting starts in a few weeks. Those races are blindingly white—at least when it comes to what oddsmakers are betting on as frontrunners.
Leading the comedy categories are Schitt’s Creek, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Good Place, and Curb Your Enthusiasm. Drama is Succession, The Crown, Ozark, and Better Call Saul. If not for Regina King in Watchmen, it would be the same situation in limited series, too, where Mrs. America and Unbelievable are the other prime players.
However these Emmys end up being staged, the dissonance between the industry’s systemic whiteness and the Black Lives Matter awakening happening around the country is going to be the shining star.