The Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences is planning to host this year’s Oscars ceremony without a vaccine mandate for its attendees while still requiring their employees to show proof of vaccination. Across Los Angeles, people are required to show vaccine certificates to visit movie theatres, gyms and many other public spaces.
While the no-vaccine mandate aligns with the latest guidelines from the Los Angeles Department of Health, the decision to give the Hollywood elites a pass is still highly controversial as the US is still registering over 200,000 cases and witnessing over 2300 deaths per week.
The question on most people’s minds is what message does it send to the public when they need to show vaccine certificates to go to the gym, the movies, even their workplaces, while Hollywood elites are allowed to go unregulated? Dr. Frank Lichtenberger, a noted immunologist from the US, shedding light on the matter, says that ‘’the medical community can only offer recommendations, they don’t make the laws’’. Celebrities get a free pass as ‘’they are not affected by the healthcare disparity as most Americans.’’
Currently, all indoor mega events with 500 and more attendees in L.A. have mandatory masking regulations. The Oscar ceremony, however, is exempt as award shows aren’t considered ‘‘mega-events” as per L.A. Public Health, instead they are regulated under protocols for TV productions.
There is still no statement from the Academy as to the requirement of wearing masks and the number of attendees at the event. They will, however, require guests to provide a negative PCR or a negative rapid antigen test on the day of the event, according to the Hollywood Reporter and Variety.
The decision stands in contradiction to other major award shows like the Critics Choice and the Screen Actors Guild that have strict vaccine mandates in place. With the Critics Choice set to be held on March 13, COO of the organisation, Joey Berlin said in a quote in the Hollywood Reporter, ‘’We will be 100 percent vaccinated and require a negative PCR test within 48 hours of the event. I can’t invite people to a show where they’re not going to feel safe.”
The SAG Awards is also taking a similar stance on the matter. A spokesperson said, ‘’All ticketed attendees will be required to show proof of vaccination plus booster shot (if eligible), proof of negative lab-based COVID-19 PCR test within 48 hours of the event, and negative antigen (rapid) test the day of the event.”
In light of these divisionary standpoints, the Academy’s decision is being viewed as being supportive of anti-vaccine high-profile celebrities whose presence would add to the eminence and glamour of the show. According to Hollywood insiders, some of the major names to win big last year are among those who remain unvaccinated and this move by the Academy will accommodate them as they would be among the presenters at this year’s show.
The 94th Oscars will be held at the Dolby Theatre in L.A. on February 27th, telecast live in the United Kingdom 1AM onwards, BST.